In California the law provides two relatively expedited means to obtain a restraining order against another: Civil Harassment Orders and Domestic Violence Orders. Both kinds of orders allow one to seek a court order that prohibits another from approaching or communicating with you or other protected individuals. Both will require the individual against whom protection is sought to turn any firearms in their possession over to police. Both can be issued on a temporary and permanent basis. Both will be heard on a relatively expedited basis.
There are however, several key differences between the two. For example, Domestic Violence Orders require that you have a family relationship with the person against whom you are seeking a restraining order. “Family Relationship” means the two individuals in questions are: 1) a married couple, 2) a current or former cohabiting couple, 3) persons who have a child or children together, 4) persons currently in a dating relationship or who used to date, 5) persons who were formerly married to each other, or 6) blood relatives.
Civil harassment orders, on the other hand, can be applied regardless of the relation between the parties. The disadvantage though, is that obtaining a permanent civil harassment order requires a higher degree of proof. This means that while it has a broader reach these orders will be issued less often. Thus, it is usually prudent to seek orders under Domestic law Violence as opposed to Civil Harassment law whenever possible.
Understanding these key differences can be the difference between defeat and victory in court. The San Francisco based Bay Area attorneys at Jones & Devoy have experience in the various paths to restraining orders and can provide a consultation as to what options are most appropriate in your case.