Orange County Civil Harassment Restraining Order Lawyer
Being the focus of another’s harassment can deeply disrupt your daily life. What might begin as a minor dispute with a neighbor or co-worker can escalate into an unbearable ordeal. If you’ve been dealing with ongoing harassment, an Orange County Civil Harassment Restraining Order could be the solution to your problem.
At Power Trial Lawyers, our team of Orange County Civil Harassment Restraining Order lawyers have a proven history of aggressively advocating for our clients. We are well-versed in the legal principles involved and possess an in-depth understanding of the Orange County judicial system to ensure prompt and effective proceedings. Our approach is comprehensive; we dedicate ourselves fully to each Civil Harassment Restraining Order case, investing the necessary time to grasp your unique situation. This enables us to craft a petition that is tailored to your circumstances, ensuring optimal protection and safeguarding your well-being.What Is a Civil Harassment Restraining Order?
A Civil Harassment Restraining Order (CHRO) is a court order that a judge can issue, upon request, to protect someone from being harassed, stalked, abused, or threatened by another person. CHROs apply in a broad range of situations, in contrast to Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, which only apply when the parties are family or household members or have a history of a romantic relationship.Who Can File for an Orange County Civil Harassment Restraining Order?
A Civil Harassment Restraining Order is intended to protect you from harassment. Thus, anyone who has been subject to harassment can file for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order, provided they meet two criteria:
- You do not have and have never had a romantic or dating relationship with the other person; and
- You are not related to the other person by blood or marriage.
Harassment is broadly defined under California Code of Civil Procedure § 527.6 to include any of the following:
- Unlawful acts of violence, including stalking and attempted sexual assault;
- Credible threats of violence;
- A course of conduct that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses you and that serves no legitimate purpose.
While the first two examples of harassment are fairly straightforward, many have questions about what constitutes a harassing course of conduct. Section 527.6 provides some clarification, explaining that a course of conduct designed to harass another involves:
Conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose, including following or stalking an individual, making harassing telephone calls to an individual, or sending harassing correspondence to an individual by any means, including, but not limited to, the use of public or private emails, interoffice mail, facsimile, or email.
Thus, a one-time incident that did not involve violence or the threat of violence may not be enough to establish a course of conduct. However, courts must consider each case on its merits, and courts have shown a willingness to read into threatening conduct that didn’t necessarily involve explicit threats.How Can a CHRO Help Prevent Harassment?
An Orange County judge overseeing a request for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order has a number of tools at their disposal to prevent future acts of harassment, including the following:
- Issuing a Stay Away Order – A Stay Away Order is a legal order requiring the restrained party to stay a certain distance away from you. This may include your home, school, work, and children.
- Issuing a No Contact Order – A No Contact Order is a legal order preventing the restrained person from contacting you in any way, including by phone, mail, email, or other electronic means. It is a violation of a No Contact Order to ask a third party to contact you on the restrained party’s behalf.
- Issuing a Move-Out Order – In some cases, a judge may order the restrained party to move out of a shared residence.
- Preventing Access to Firearms – The judge will also require the restrained party to turn in any guns they own and refrain from purchasing, carrying, or using a gun while the order is effective.
Determining where to file for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order might seem tricky, but it is actually quite easy to determine where to file. As a general rule, you should file where the person who is harassing you lives or where the alleged harassment took place.
For all Civil Harassment Restraining Orders in Orange County, you’ll file a Request for Civil Harassment Restraining Orders (form CH-100) in one of the Orange County Justice Centers, For example, the Central Justice Center where ex parte hearings will occur, which means the judge will review your request without the other party being present.
The Central Justice Hall is located at:
700 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
The court hears CHRO petitions Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Petitions for Civil Harassment Restraining Orders will be ruled on the day they are filed, unless filing occurs after 3:30 p.m., in which case they will be heard the following day. It is imperative that you have all forms complete and accurate; otherwise, it could delay your filing.
If the judge deems it appropriate, they will issue a Temporary Restraining Order. A temporary restraining order takes effect immediately and lasts about 20 – 25 days or until the judge rules on the merits of your petition at a hearing where the other side will be present. The burden of proof for obtaining a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order is lower than for a permanent Restraining Order. The judge overseeing your petition can order nearly identical forms of relief through a Temporary DVRO.What If I Need Protection Immediately?
If you are in fear for your safety, you may not have time to complete all the paperwork necessary to obtain a restraining order. So, if you feel your life is in jeopardy, you should call 911 or the local police or sheriff department. For non-life-threatening emergencies, you can call the Orange County Adult Protective Services Agency on their 24-hour hotline at 1-800- 451-5155.Do I Need to Disclose My Immigration Status to File for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order?
No, at no point during the pendency of your request for a CHRO will you need to disclose your immigration status to anyone in the courthouse. Additionally, California law protects everyone equally, regardless of their immigration status.Defending Against a Civil Harassment Restraining Order
Learning that someone is seeking an Orange County Civil Harassment Restraining Order against you is incredibly stressful, and there can be a tremendous amount on the line. Therefore, it is imperative that you give the situation the attention it deserves. If someone has filed a CHRO against you, it's best to consult with an Orange County Civil Harassment Restraining Order lawyer to ensure you understand what’s at stake and what you can do to prevent an unjust order from being entered against you.
Below are a few things to keep in mind to help you prepare a defense:
Understand the Allegations: The first thing to do is to familiarize yourself with CHROs and the exact allegations against you. This will help you identify areas to challenge and help you determine what evidence may be helpful.
Secure an Orange County Restraining Order Lawyer: An experienced restraining order lawyer in Orange County can guide you through the process, help you understand the laws, protect your rights and advocate on your behalf throughout the process.
Collect Evidence: Collect any evidence that supports your side of the story. This might include:
- Texts, emails, or other correspondence between you and the petitioner that might refute their allegations.
- Witnesses who can provide testimony or affidavits supporting your claims.
- Alibis for dates and times you’re alleged to have committed harassment.
- Records that might contradict the petitioner’s claims, such as phone records, GPS data, or security footage.
- Character references from people who can speak to your reputation and behavior.
Keep Detailed Documentation: Keeps detailed records of any interactions with the person seeking the CHRO, including dates, times, locations, and a description of what occurred.
Show Up to Court and Respect the Judge’s Rulings: Even if you believe the order is unjustified, it's essential to comply until the court has made a decision. Failing to do so can lead to legal consequences and weaken your defense. For example, violating a Temporary Restraining Order is a criminal offense.
Prepare a Defense: With the help of your lawyer, work together to build a solid defense. Often, this includes challenging the truth of the other party’s allegations, presenting evidence that contradicts their story, or arguing that your actions did not meet the legal definition of harassment.
Keep Your Cool: Emotions can run high in restraining order cases, but it's important to stay calm and composed, especially while court is in session. And, at all costs, avoid any confrontations with the petitioner, as doing so could hurt your case and give rise to criminal charges.
Finally, it's crucial to recognize that courts take these matters very seriously. While defending yourself, it is very important to maintain respect for the court and everyone else involved. Failure to do so will not only compromise your personal integrity but can also negatively impact your case and may even result in additional legal challenges.Do You Have Questions About Orange County Civil Harassment Restraining Orders?
If you are being harassed by another person or you recently learned that someone has filed a restraining order petition against you, a dedicated Orange County Civil Harassment Restraining Order lawyer at Power Trial Lawyers can help. At Power Trial Lawyers, we have worked hard to earn a reputation as a leading restraining order law firm in Orange County. We take pride in every case we handle, always prioritizing your interests and ensuring that you are treated fairly. To learn more about Civil Harassment Restraining Orders and to schedule a no-obligation consultation with Matthew Barhoma or another attorney at Power Trial Lawyers, call (213) 800-7664, or connect with us through our online contact form.