In addition to Civil Harassment Restraining Orders (“CHRO”) and Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (“DVRO”), since 2016 California has a third type of protective order, the Gun Violence Retraining Order (“GVRO”). While Civil Harassment Restraining Orders are governed by California Code of Civil Procedure, and Domestic Violence Restraining Orders are governed by the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, Gun Violence Restraining Orders are governed by Section 18150 of the Penal Code. Unlike the first two types of restraining orders, which require specific conditions as to parties staying away from residences, places of employment and other locations, the GVRO only addresses a party’s right to own or possess firearms or ammunition.
In addition to being a limited type of restraining order, there is a limited class of people who can apply for a GVRO. The class of people who can apply for a GVRO are immediate family members, who could be spouses, parents, children, stepchildren, in-laws, or a former member of the household who had resided at the location for the last six months. There is an exception to this requirement, however, that if a party does not have the necessary relationship with the at-risk party, they can notify law enforcement, who can then in turn potentially apply. As of 2019, the City Attorney of San Diego had successfully obtained over one hundred Gun Violence Restraining Orders, one of the highest levels in the state of California and removed over two hundred and sixty nine guns from such individuals.
Like the other types of restraining orders, an applicant for a GVRO must prove that the restrained party poses a significant risk, either to themselves, or third parties. While the law was enacted to remove firearms from potentially unstable individuals, it is worth noting that this type of remedy also exists with other restraining orders. For example, a party that is subjected to domestic violence – be it physical, verbal, or other, and applies for a DVRO through the Court can ensure that the restrained party relinquishes whatever firearms they have access to through the DVRO process.
As always when discussing domestic violence or potential gun violence, it is important to note that if you are being abused by a partner of any sort, you should stop reading this blog and contact the appropriate authorities. Similarly, if you feel that a party who has access to or has firearms is a threat to their person or others, one should also contact the appropriate authorities. Given the nature of the relief requested, Gun Violence Restraining Orders are serious business, and a serious matter that one needs to be prepared for to obtain the relief that they want. If you have questions about them or other restraining orders, don’t just trust what advice you receive from family and friends, or the internet, but contact an attorney who can guide you between what is real – and what is a dead end, and who will advocate for you to get the protection you need. Contact our office today with any GVRO questions you may have to protect your personal safety.
One of the most serious issues that faces people that are dating, engaged, or married is that of domestic violence. Pursuant to studies conducted by the Center for Disease Control, one in four women (25%) and one in seven men (14%) have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime; and even more disturbing, two-thirds (66%) of female victims of stalking were stalked by a current or former intimate partner. Bringing this closer to home – San Diego County - in 2017, there were 17,306 domestic violence incidents reported to law enforcement in which was a four percent increase from the prior year. While the statistics are not yet available for 2018 it is likely that such numbers will be at the same level or a slight increase. As always when discussing domestic violence, it is important to note that if you are being abused by a partner of any sort, you should stop reading this blog and contact the appropriate authorities.
With respect to remedies for domestic violence, the first and most important remedy is as listed above to contact the authorities, file a police report, and wait for the District Attorney to take action under the appropriate provisions of the penal code. The second – or equally important remedy is to obtain a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (“DVRO”) from the Family Court. DVRO’s are governed by the Domestic Violence Protection Act, which defines abuse as: 1) intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury; 2) sexual assault.; 3) placing a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another; and 4) engaging in any behavior that has been or could be illegal such as molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, battering, harassing, destroying personal property, contacting the other by mail, telephone, or otherwise, disturbing the peace of the other party.
In addition to the abuse component, one must prove that an intimate or familial relationship exists between the parties, or else the relief requested is more appropriately a Civil Harassment Restraining Order (“CHRO”). It is always worth noting that the party requesting the restraining order bears the burden of proof, meaning that they must prove that the abuse occurred. Under the DVPA, restraining orders can be granted on a permanent basis for a term between a number of months and five years. This order can later be renewed, depending on whether there has been additional or continuing conduct after the initial order has been granted.
Like many things in the realm of Family Law, a number of rumors continue to exist about domestic violence restraining orders. The first and most prevalent rumor is that a restraining order will only be granted if there is physical violence between the parties. While the element of physical violence is one that likely ensures that a protective order will be granted, it does not need to occur for an order to be granted. As discussed above, a party need only demonstrate that they have been harassed, or that their peace has been disturbed by a number of means, including that of verbal or online abuse. The second and most prevalent rumor is that restraining orders are not granted for men against women, or in same sex relationships. In 2019, a restraining order may be granted to protect any party irrespective of race, gender, age, or any other factor as long as they meet the legal requirements under the law.
Given the nature of the relief requested, Domestic Violence Restraining Orders are serious business, and a serious matter that one needs to be prepared for to obtain the relief that they want. There also can be many forms, depending on what type of relief one is seeking for themselves, and potentially their children. If you have questions about Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, don’t just trust what advice you receive from family and friends, or the internet, but contact an attorney who can guide you between what is real – and what is a dead end, and who will advocate for you to get the protection you need. Contact our office today with any DVRO questions you may have to protect your personal safety.
Generally, no one wakes up and wants to obtain a restraining order against another party as it requires one to expend the time and energy to go to Court. Having said that, harassment, either in person or online, violence, or threats of violence are serious issues. As anyone will tell you, if you have an imminent fear of violence, or are experiencing violence at this moment in time, you should stop reading this post, and contact the appropriate authorities. If you have contacted the authorities, you should also consider your civil remedies in Superior Court. While restraining orders against parties one knows are governed by the Family Code, restraining orders against strangers are governed by the Code of Civil Procedure and are called Civil Harassment Restraining Orders (“CHRO”).
The distinction here is simple: if you are related to a party, or if they are your wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, former husband, former wife, former boyfriend, or former girlfriend, the law classifies such problems as potential domestic violence, and the remedy is a domestic violence restraining order. However, if the relationship is that of a non-romantic roommate, co-worker, neighbor, random stranger, or anyone that does not fall into the above domestic violence category above, the remedy is a Civil Harassment Restraining Order.
Civil Harassment Restraining Orders are governed by Section 527.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and under this section, individuals are entitled to a CHRO if they meet any of the following conditions: a) Are a victim of a continual pattern of conduct from another party – meaning, that they have been stalked or harassed in person or online; b) Believe that there is a credible threat of violence – meaning that a reasonable person would have fear for their safety and the safety of their family; and c) That they have been harassed, subjected to violence, threats of violence, or a course of conduct that serves no legitimate purpose – meaning that which would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and must actually cause substantial emotional distress.
As one can see, the definition of harassment under the law is intentionally broad. This law covers: online stalking; in person stalking; online harassment; in person harassment; harassment by mail, phone, e-mail, or text; assault by the other party; threatened assault by the other party; and various other acts. In practical terms, the law covers a neighbor, who, for whatever reason, decides to either stalk, harass, or threaten violence against one’s person or property. The law covers a co-worker, who, for whatever reason, decides to harass a person online. The law covers a member of a group, who, for whatever reason, decides to harass a person via the phone, text, or e-mail. Finally, the law covers the repeated acts of random strangers who choose to do any of these things or more.
The point of a CHRO is first of all, mental and physical protection. If one obtains a temporary CHRO, or a permanent CHRO, the other party cannot threaten or harass the applicant; cannot go near the applicant’s place of business; home; school; or other areas; and the recipient of a CHRO cannot own or possess a firearm or ammunition. In order to obtain a CHRO, a party must complete Court-approved paperwork, and also produce what evidence that supports their claims. On the day of filing, the moving party will learn whether their request has been granted in whole, in part, or not at all pending a hearing date. On that hearing date, the moving party must appear, and may have to testify to ensure that they receive the relief requested. Once the hearing is completed, the Court may elect to enter a permanent order based on the evidence received for a period of time.
Like Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, Civil Harassment Restraining Orders are serious business, and a serious matter that one needs to be prepared for to obtain the relief that they want. If you have questions about Civil Harassment Restraining Orders, don’t just trust what advice you receive from family and friends, or the internet, but contact an attorney who can guide you between what is real – and what is a dead end, and who will advocate for you to get the protection you need. Contact our office today with any CHRO questions you may have to protect your personal safety.
On a day-to-day basis, there’s an assumption that everything will go smoothly, or at least normally in going to work, running errands, being in relationships, dealing with rush hour commutes and everything else that comprises modern day life. Yet, unfortunately, in 2019, many unpleasant situations arise regularly – such as co-workers who take an unhealthy interest in following, commenting, and harassing people on social media or online; or an individual who follows a car off the freeway because they feel like they’ve been wronged; or a partner in a relationship who either verbally or physically abuses their other half. All of the last situations and more are unfortunately common – and unfortunately normal in 2019. Fortunately, there are legal remedies under California law to protect people in these different situations. The broad overarching remedy is to obtain a “restraining order”, but like the situations above, restraining orders in California vary depending on the specific facts of a case.
Before we cover the three types of civil protective orders in California, let all of us at the firm note that any sort of violence or harassment, especially of a physical nature is a serious issue, and under many circumstances may be a crime. If you feel your life is in imminent danger, or there are serious ongoing issues with a partner or total stranger, you should stop reading this article and contact the appropriate authorities in your area to obtain assistance. Under the California Penal Code, domestic violence, assault, and other issues are crimes that can and do lead to criminal liability and criminal protective orders, which in many cases supersede, or supplement the civil remedies described below.
The main type of restraining order that is issued within California is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (“DVRO”), which requires the parties at issue to have had a relationship, including simply dating, being engaged, or married. As well, even if there was no relationship, but the parties had a child – or multiple children, such situations fall within the scope of a DVRO. To first obtain a temporary DVRO, one must prove that abuse has occurred either one time – or on multiple occasions.
Under the law, abuse can be physical or sexual harm, or threats of physical harm. If such prongs of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (“DVPA”) were not broad enough, DVRO’s can also be issued for “…Engaging in any behavior that has been or could be illegal such as molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, battering, harassing, destroying personal property, contacting the other by mail, telephone, or otherwise, disturbing the peace of the other party.” The protections under this law are specifically broad to protect all people and minors in abusive relationships. Again, if you feel that you are a victim of domestic abuse under the terms of the DVPA, in addition to pursuing this civil remedy, you should contact the appropriate authorities for assistance.
The second most common type of restraining order is what is known as a Civil Harassment Restraining Order (“CHRO”). CHRO’s are governed by a different law than the DVPA, because they cover stalking, harassment, assaults, threats, and sexual assaults and the attendant misconduct of parties who are in essence, total strangers. The main distinction between DVRO’s and CHRO’s is that a DVRO is a restraining order for parties that have had a relationship of some sort, and a CHRO is for parties that have had no relationship and likely no interactions prior to whatever issues arose. Common examples of people who may need CHRO’s are neighbors in apartment complexes, roommates in non-romantic situations, co-workers, or again, that type of person who follows someone either on – or off-line. Again, abuse does not stop because parties are either relative or complete strangers. If you feel you need a CHRO based upon the violent acts of another, you should also contact the authorities.
The final type of restraining order is a new variant under California law, the Gun Violence Restraining Order (“GVRO”). The GVRO applies in limited circumstances where an immediate family member feels that another should not have firearms or ammunition. Unlike the two above types of restraining orders, both of which have provisions as to contact, communication, and physical distance, the GVRO only addresses the removal of firearms and ammunition. It is also worth noting that parties who are seeking a DVRO can also have firearms removed from the other party, irrespective of whether one is still co-habitating or not. While the GVRO is a newer legal remedy, in theory it is designed to aid in a party’s mental health and access to weapons during a troubled time. Again, if you feel there is an imminent issue or threat by a party and their firearms, one should contact the authorities.
These three types of restraining orders work to keep the abnormal in modern life safer, and in that regard, a little more normal. Knowing the appropriate type of protective order is however, just the start. Any protective order requires a party to provide solid evidence and meet their burden of proof. If you’re considering requesting a restraining order of any sort, don’t just trust what advice you receive from family and friends, or the internet, but contact an attorney who can guide you on how to prepare the necessary paperwork, and obtain the maximum results for your personal safety. Call us today to arrange an appointment and protect your personal safety and peace of mind.
Christopher Sunnen, Esq. is a San Diego, CA based attorney specializing in family law and bankruptcy law.