In a situation where domestic violence is suspected, a protective or restraining order (often referred to as an “order of protection” or an “injunction”) can be imposed by the courts. This type of order demands that an individual stop one or more undesired behaviors which are considered to be domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse can take on many forms, including physical, emotional, mental and at times economic abuse (e.g. if a partner controls the finances or restricts the other partner’s access to communal assets). In California, domestic abuse can be defined as:
Other common behaviors include:
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Those who are accused of committing domestic abuse are often:
The majority of restraining orders are issued because of a situation where domestic abuse is claimed or if there is a conflict in an intimate or family relationship. But courts may also issue a restraining order for civil matters, such as if an individual has prohibited a person from contacting a non-family member or intimate partner, or if an individual has prohibited someone from going to a certain professional office or business.
There are specific steps which everyone must take if you suspect someone will file a restraining order or if one has already been filed against you.
Sometimes people who are issued a restraining order downplay the severity because they are not under arrest, they do not need to pay a fine, and they assume no action needs to be taken on their part (apart from eliminating contact with the person or persons whom the order protects). But if you are the subject of a restraining order, it is important that you handle the situation efficiently and with proper legal guidance.
Some prefer to sit and wait to see what happens with their case, but it is important to understand that you can be a proactive participant in ensuring that the protective or restraining order is reduced or thrown out. You are entitled to:
In restraining order proceedings, it is important to note that the accused are not entitled to a court-appointed attorney and must locate an expert defense attorney for further guidance and legal assistance.