Temporary Restraining Order
If you are in need of a restraining order in Los Angeles, time is of the essence. Perhaps you are in the process of exiting a toxic relationship marred by domestic violence, or you are dealing with intolerable harassment; either way, when you decide you need protection, you want it immediately. Recognizing this, California courts will often issue what is called a temporary restraining order, or TRO.
At Power Trial Lawyers, our Los Angeles TRO attorneys have extensive experience handling restraining orders at all stages. Our clients routinely call upon our services to obtain and defend against restraining orders, including TROs. We possess unrivaled knowledge of the various types of California restraining orders and know what it takes to help you reach the result you are looking for.What Is a Temporary Restraining Order?
In California, a Temporary Restraining Order is a court order intended to protect a person from being harmed or harassed by another person. It can command the restrained person to stay away from the protected person, refrain from certain actions, and possibly even vacate a shared residence. The "temporary" aspect of a TRO means that it's issued for a short duration, which is usually until a court hearing can be held to determine whether a more permanent order should be put in place.Types of Restraining Orders in California
There are several different types of TROs available in California. The type of restraining you need is usually dictated by the facts; for example, if you need protection from an abusive partner, you’ll require a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. Below is a brief description of the four types of restraining orders in California.
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders: Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (DVRO) are intended for those who have suffered abuse from a person with whom they shared a close relationship, for example, spouses, live-in romantic partners, dating partners, or close relatives.
Civil Harassment Restraining Orders: Civil Harassment Restraining Orders (CHRO) are designed to prevent abuse, threats, or harassment carried out by someone that you are not closely related to, such as roommates, work colleagues, former friends, or neighbors.
Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Orders: Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Orders are ordered to protect seniors or dependent adults from all types of abuse. In this context, abuse is broadly defined to include any treatment that causes physical harm, pain, or mental suffering. This includes hitting, slapping, sexually assaulting, abducting, or threatening to do any of these. It also includes abandoning, neglecting, or withholding food or medical care. Another’s conduct does not have to be physical to be abuse, and you seek this type of protection for financial abuse.
Workplace Violence Restraining Orders: By applying for a Workplace Violence Restraining Order (WVRO), an employer can request protection on behalf of an employee who faces threats or violence at work. Employers can seek protection for employees, volunteers, part-time workers, independent contractors, and board members. In certain cases, an employer can also ask that spouses of employees be extended the same protection.How Long Does a TRO Last in California?
A TRO typically lasts up to 21 days or until a court hearing date. At that hearing, the judge will decide whether to issue a permanent restraining order, which can last up to several years.How Do You Obtain a Temporary Restraining Order?
As a preliminary matter, there isn’t a way of seeking only a temporary restraining order. This is because the TRO-stage is but one step in the process of obtaining a permanent restraining order. Additionally, it is advisable to have a Los Angeles restraining order lawyer represent you as soon as possible. This ensures that your request is filled out completely and according to all court rules.
However, to obtain a TRO, you must fill out the corresponding forms, which are available on the California Courts website. In these forms, you will explain what happened and why you need a restraining order. After the forms are submitted, a judge will decide whether to grant the TRO. If the TRO is granted, a court hearing will be scheduled to determine if a permanent order is needed.
Once a judge grants a TRO, it must be "served" (delivered) to the restrained person by law enforcement or a professional process server. The restrained person must be aware of the order and the upcoming court hearing.
At the hearing, you and the other person can present their case. This includes presenting compelling evidence as to why the restraining order is or is not appropriate. The judge will then decide if a permanent order is necessary.What Evidence Is Admissible When Seeking a Temporary Restraining Order?
The evidentiary threshold necessary to obtain a TRO is much lower than to obtain a permanent order. At this stage, the person whose conduct you are hoping to restrain will likely not be present, so the judge will be only reviewing your evidence.
The specific type of evidence necessary to obtain a TRO depends on the context and the allegations. However, as a general rule, the following may be admissible:
- Written Declarations: You will usually need to submit a written declaration under penalty of perjury, detailing the specific events or conduct that form the basis for the request. This is one of the most crucial pieces of evidence.
- Photographs: Photos can help substantiate claims of physical abuse or damage to property. For example, bruises, scratches, or broken items can be documented this way.
- Text Messages and Emails: If there's a record of threats, harassment, or other relevant communication, you can submit them as evidence. Make sure to provide the full context and not just selected excerpts that could be misleading.
- Voicemails and Audio Recordings: If someone has left threatening or abusive messages, these can be used as evidence. However, be cautious about how audio recordings are obtained. California is a two-party consent state, which means you generally cannot record a conversation without the consent of all parties involved.
- Witness Statements: If someone else witnessed the abusive or threatening behavior, their written declarations can also be submitted.
- Police Reports: If law enforcement was called regarding the incidents in question, you can use those reports as evidence. They can substantiate claims and may contain observations or statements from both parties and witnesses.
- Medical Reports: If injuries required medical attention, records from those visits can support claims of abuse.
- Records of Prior Restraining Orders: If there have been previous restraining orders against the same person or if the petitioner has sought protection in the past, these records can potentially be used as evidence.
- Testimony: If a hearing is held, the petitioner, respondent, and any witnesses might be called to testify in court.
Temporary restraining orders are legally enforceable court orders, and violating a TRO is a criminal offense. If the restrained person violates the order, they can face criminal penalties, including jail time. Depending on the nature of the violation, the restrained party’s conduct may also become relevant at the hearing to determine whether a permanent order is appropriate.Are You Seeking Protection of a Temporary Restraining Order?
If you are being harassed or your safety is in jeopardy, the first step is to obtain a temporary restraining order. The dedicated Los Angeles TRO attorneys at Power Trial Lawyers are immediately available to meet with you to discuss your situation. With significant hands-on experience drafting, litigating and responding to restraining order requests, our attorneys are familiar with the legal requirements and how to strategically position your case for success from the very beginning. To learn more about temporary 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.