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Repeat Violence Restraining Order

Experienced Los Angeles Lawyers Helping Victims of Violence and Abuse Obtain Full Protection Under the Law

The California legal system recognizes that certain types of abusive behavior follow cyclical patterns of violence. This is commonly referred to as the cycle of violence or the cycle of abuse. Regardless of the name used to describe this pattern of abusive behavior, it is incredibly difficult to break. However, those who have experienced ongoing violence or abuse can take the first step toward breaking the cycle by filing for a repeat violence restraining order.

At Power Trial Lawyers, we have extensive experience working first-hand with the victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence, helping them obtain the protection the seek through a Repeat Violence Restraining Order. We take a comprehensive approach to every case we handle, taking the time to fully understand your situation so we can cater our representation accordingly.

What is the Cycle of Abuse?

The cycle of abuse, which is often observed in the context of domestic violence, is a recurring pattern that captures the stages an abusive relationship tends to take. This cyclical nature can make it challenging for victims to break free, given the alternating periods of violence and calm.

The cycle typically unfolds in three primary phases: the tension-building phase, the explosive or acute phase, and the honeymoon phase.

Tension-building Phase:

This initial phase is characterized by a gradual build-up of tension between the victim and the abuser. Minor disagreements or disputes might lead to increased stress, while the abuser often becomes more controlling, critical, and irritable. The victim, sensing this mounting tension, may find themselves feeling anxious, trying to avoid any triggers, or desperately attempting to calm the increasingly volatile situation. It's during this phase that communication diminishes, and the victim might suppress their emotions or needs to prevent an escalation.

Explosive or Acute Phase

This stage marks the eruption of accumulated tension into overt abuse, be it physical, emotional, or sexual. It's the most dangerous phase, where the risk of significant harm is high. These violent episodes, while they can be provoked by external events or stresses, are fundamentally rooted in the abuser's need for power and control. The severity of this phase is often what prompts outsiders, such as law enforcement or medical personnel, to intervene.

Honeymoon Phase

Following the violence, there's usually a period of calm, where the abuser becomes remorseful and may beg for forgiveness. They'll make promises, assert they've changed, and sometimes employ manipulative tactics like blaming their behavior on external factors or even the victim. This deceptive calm provides the victim with hope that the relationship can be mended, making it harder to leave.

However, as this cycle perpetuates, two significant trends become evident: the tension-building and honeymoon stages tend to shorten, while the explosive episodes can increase in frequency and severity.

What Is A Repeat Violence Restraining Order?

A Repeat Violence Restraining Order is identical to a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, expect that with a Repeat Violence Restraining Order, the restrained party has committed violent acts in the past. In most jurisdictions in California, committing an act of violence within six months of a prior act of domestic violence or abuse is considered repeat violence.

What Is Considered “an Act of Violence” Under California Restraining Order Law?

In general, to obtain a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, you must be able to establish that the other party engaged in “a past act or acts of abuse.” The same goes for Repeat Violence Restraining Orders, except that you’ll need to prove that there was a prior act of violence as well.

In this context, the term “abuse” is very broadly defined, and includes any acts of violence, including verbal, psychological, physical or sexual abuse. For instance, abuse includes all of the following acts:

  • Child abuse,
  • Choking or strangling,
  • Repeated attempts to contact without consent,
  • Destroying property,
  • Forcing you to do something you do not want to do.
  • Harassment,
  • Hurting your pets,
  • Interfering with your contraception or birth control.
  • Isolating you from your friends or family members,
  • Limiting your access to or ability to earn money, and
  • Making threats to call the immigration authorities on you or your family,
  • Physical assault,
  • Placing a tracking device on you or your belongings without consent,
  • Withholding necessities, such as food or water,
  • Sexual assault, and
  • Threatening your safety or the safety of your loved ones.

A judge can also issue a restraining order if the other party is “disturbing the peace.” In this context, disturbing the peace refers to a controlling or abusive behavior, such as isolating you from your friends and family, controlling your finances or access to money, depriving you of the basic necessities, controlling or monitoring your movements, and engaging in reproductive coercion, which is essentially exercising control over the reproductive autonomy.

Are There Different Types of Repeat Violence Restraining Orders?

Yes, there are several different types of restraining orders. The primary differences between the various restraining orders are the manner in which they are obtained and their duration.

Emergency Protective Order

Under California Family Code § 6251, an emergency protective order is the most temporary type of restraining order. These orders are issued by a judge upon the request of a law enforcement officer. To grant an emergency protective order, the judge must find reasonable grounds to believe that

  1. There is an immediate and present danger of violence exists,
  2. A child is in immediate and present danger of abuse or abduction, or
  3. An elder or dependent adult is in immediate and present danger of abuse

Additionally, the court must determine that an emergency protective order is necessary to prevent the occurrence or recurrence of domestic violence, child abuse, child abduction, or abuse of an elder or dependent adult.

Temporary Restraining Order

A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is a legal injunction issued by the court to protect someone from immediate harm or harassment. This order directs the named person, or the respondent, to stop specific actions or behaviors towards the protected individual, or the petitioner, for a short period, usually 20 to 25 days. The primary purpose of a TRO is to provide immediate protection until a more formal hearing can take place, where both parties can present their evidence and testimonies. TROs in California can be issued for various reasons, including cases of domestic violence, stalking, harassment, or threats, and they can impose various restrictions on the respondent, such as prohibiting contact with the petitioner or requiring them to stay a certain distance away.

Permanent Restraining Order

A permanent restraining order is a long-term version of a Temporary Restraining Order that can only be issued after a formal hearing. The primary difference between a TRO and a Permanent Restraining Order is the duration, as a Permanent Restraining Order can last up to five years. Additionally, the protected party can petition the court to extend the duration of a Permanent Restraining Order. Otherwise, the available relief is very similar to that which is available through a Temporary Restraining Order.

What Protections Does a Los Angeles Repeat Violence Restraining Order Provide?

When the court grants a permanent Repeat Violence Restraining Order, it determines the necessary protections based on the claims made in the petition and the evidence submitted.

As per California Family Code § 6320, a Repeat Violence Restraining Order may encompass various protective measures. This includes barring actions like molesting, attacking, stalking, making threats, sexually assaulting, battering, impersonating in a credible manner, harassing, making unsolicited phone calls, destroying personal assets, or making any form of contact without the individual's express consent.

Moreover, a Repeat Violence Restraining Order can offer several protections such as:

  • Restricting the restrained individual from any form of communication with the protected person, including face-to-face interactions, phone calls, emails, and social media communications.
  • Prohibiting the restrained party from approaching the protected person's residence, workplace, or school.
  • Requiring the restrained individual to vacate a jointly inhabited property.
  • Establishing child custody and visitation guidelines.
  • Banning the restrained party from obtaining, using, or keeping a firearm.

In Los Angeles, the courts also have the authority to determine who gets to keep particular personal assets and who remains liable for any associated loans. As an illustration, if there's a shared car, the court might grant the car to the petitioner but order the respondent to continue with the vehicle loan payments.

What are the Penalties for Violating a Repeat Violence Restraining Orders in California?

In California, violating a restraining order is taken very seriously and can result in significant legal penalties. The specific consequences vary based on the circumstances and the nature of the violation, but generally include:

Criminal Charges: Violation of a restraining order can lead to criminal charges. The severity of the charge, either misdemeanor or felony, depends on the specifics of the violation and any prior convictions.

Fines: If convicted of a misdemeanor violation, an individual might face a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offense. For subsequent offenses, the fines can be higher.

Jail or Prison Time: A misdemeanor violation can lead to a jail sentence of up to one year. If the violation is deemed a felony, especially if the individual has prior convictions or if the violation involved physical harm, the person might face state prison time.

Probation: A court may impose probation, either in lieu of or in addition to jail time. This can include mandatory counseling, community service, and regular check-ins with a probation officer.

Loss of Custody or Visitation Rights: If the restraining order is related to a domestic situation, violating it can impact child custody or visitation rights. A court might determine that the violating party poses a risk to the child(ren) and adjust custody or visitation arrangements accordingly.

Firearms Restrictions: Those found guilty of violating a restraining order might be required to surrender their firearms and may be prohibited from purchasing or possessing guns for a specified duration or indefinitely.

Enhanced Restraining Order: The court might choose to modify or extend the restraining order, imposing stricter conditions or lengthening its duration.

Mandatory Counseling or Treatment: Depending on the nature of the violation, the court might require the offender to undergo counseling or treatment programs.

It's crucial to note that even unintentional violations can lead to penalties. And repeat violations of a restraining order tend to result in enhanced penalties, including felony charges.

Are You Stuck in a Cycle of Abuse and Looking for a Way Out?
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