No person deserves to be subjected to harassment or abuse. If you are being harassed by an individual who you are not closely related, there are legal options available to help protect you and your family. The civil harassment restraining order is one such option, used to prevent mistreatment and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the protected individual.
At Diaz Law Firm, we are passionate about advocating for the rights of victims of harassment and abuse. Our team of experienced attorneys will work with you to obtain a civil harassment protective order, prioritizing your safety and well-being at every step of the process. To learn more about how we can help, consider getting in touch with our firm at (626) 261-0402 today.
Who Are We?
Our law office was established to provide transparent, ethical, and compassionate legal representation to those who have been traditionally treated as outsiders in the legal process. Above all else, our goal is to support and advocate for individuals who have been subjected to mistreatment and abuse, and we work diligently to guide our clients through even the most complex or difficult legal issues. Our practice is centered around our four core values:
- Equality. All of our clients deserve to be treated with the utmost respect, and this emphasis on equality is reflected in the way we relate to every person who contacts us for help.
- Partnership with Justice. We fight for justice and ensure that all of our clients are treated fairly and equitably.
- Peace. The legal process is not often associated with peace. By ensuring your safety, your sense of peace will be protected in turn.
- Self-Criticism. Constantly striving for improvement, we are regularly implementing new practices and systems to better serve our clients.
If You Need Protection Immediately:
Contacting an experienced attorney can – and often is – a crucial step in the process of preventing harassment on a permanent basis. If your life or safety is in danger, however, we urge you to seek help as soon as possible. The following resources are available if you require immediate protection due to harassment from another person:
- Call 911 or a local law enforcement agency
- Contact the LA County Resource Line at (800) 339-6993 or via their website
Note that the websites you view can be seen by other people later, so clear your browsing history if you feel unsafe. Please prioritize your safety when seeking assistance.
How Do Civil Harassment Restraining Orders Work?
California law has set forth certain protections to ensure that individuals can live their lives free of harassment and abuse. One of these protections is the civil harassment restraining order, which can be sought by any person who has been (or currently is) the victim of abuse or harassment by an individual who they are not closely related to. Examples of such relationships include neighbors, roommates, and friends. This distinction is important, and if your abuser is a person who you are intimately related to, a domestic violence restraining order [internal link] may be better suited for your situation.
This type of restraining order is also referred to as a civil harassment protective order. In order to obtain the order, a victim must prove that they are being harassed by another individual. The definition of harassment is established in Section 527.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. Based on this legal definition, harassment is considered any violence or threat of violence that causes emotional distress. This includes battery and assault, and any behavior that causes a reasonable person to fear for their safety. Patterns of behavior that can warrant this type of restraining order include:
- Physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse—It is important to note that while some forms of abuse involve assaulting or battering the victim, abuse can also occur without the defendant touching the victim in any way. It is enough for the victim to state that there was emotional abuse that made them fearful and/or impacted their sense of safety.
- Threats of abuse—In situations where threats are credible enough to instill sustained fear in the victim, a restraining order can be obtained. This can include stalking, which is a common form of harassment. Stalking is defined as unwanted visual contact and/or physical proximity. As the action of stalking has a threatening element to it, this behavior is enough to warrant a civil harassment protective order.
- Serious and continuous harassment—If the harassment occurs on two or more occasions, it is considered a pattern of behavior.
Violating these restraining orders is a criminal offense. According to Section 273.6 of the Penal Code, a violation of a civil harassment restraining order is punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and/or a maximum of one year in county jail. Your experienced Diaz Law Firm attorney can provide greater detail on the process of obtaining a restraining order and the penalties associated with violating it.
Who Can a Civil Harassment Restraining Order Be Filed Against?
A civil harassment restraining order can be filed against an individual whom you are not in a close relationship with. If the harassment was committed by a family member or romantic partner, then a domestic violence restraining order would apply instead. Rather, this restraining order can be filed against:
- More distant relatives such as aunts, uncles, or cousins
What Can a Civil Harassment Protective Order Help Do?
A civil harassment protective order can help ensure that the restrained individual is not able to contact you or be in close proximity to you. Specifically, this order can be used to prevent the restrained party from:
- Contacting the protected person, via in-person communication, phone calls, email, standard mail, etc.
- Visiting or coming into close contact with the protected person, their children, and family members.
- Approaching the protected person’s place of employment or school.
The language of a restraining order may also prohibit an individual from owning or purchasing a firearm throughout the duration of the order.
How Long Will a Civil Harassment Protective Order Last?
Generally, the court will issue a temporary civil harassment protective order that lasts until the hearing date for the case. In many cases, this is between 15 and 22 days. At that hearing, the judge will consider the evidence and make a determination on whether or not a permanent restraining order should be granted. The permanent order can last for up to 5 years, after which another order can be requested, if necessary.
Hiring a Firm to Help You With Your Los Angeles Civil Harassment Restraining Order
If you have been the victim of harassment or abuse, you are not alone. There is a team of knowledgeable attorneys ready to help and support you through what is likely an emotional and troubling time in your life. Filing a civil harassment restraining order may feel intimidating, but your safety and well-being are worth the effort. To begin the process of obtaining protection, consider contacting our Los Angeles office at (626) 261-0402 today.