When Amber Heard alleged domestic violence against Johnny Depp in 2016, she filed a domestic violence restraining order and divorce. She would later want to meet him while the order was still in place and this opened the conversation on restraining orders. The state of California is placed at a distant 35th in the rankings of domestic violence with a rate of 34.9%. Nevertheless, this percentage is alarmingly high for any civilized society. It is imperative, therefore, to apply for a restraining order not only to put an end to the violence but also to discourage prospective perpetrators.
Under California law, the definition of domestic violence encompasses physical violence, verbal threats, and patterns of harassing behavior among individuals who are related, live together, or have had a close relationship in the past. Various criminal activities, such as child abuse, rape, sexual assault, and criminal threats, fall under this category.
Domestic violence restraining order is to prevent an abuser from committing acts of abuse against a victim with whom they have or had an intimate relationship. Restraining orders are typically requested by the victim and issued by a court to prohibit physical, electronic, or third-party contact between parties involved. The primary goal is to protect victims of domestic violence, and it may also require the restrained person to comply with specific terms and conditions. Such conditions may include the following;
The court can extend or modify the order based on the victim’s request and circumstances.
The main reason why a person may seek to get a restraining order is to protect themselves from potential harm. However, a restraining order provides for much more than this. Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects people across all genders, races, ages and socio-economic backgrounds. It is, therefore, prudent that a person seeks a restraining order to protect themselves and their loved ones from an abusive partner. Abuse, in this case, is both physical and psychological.
People also seek a restraining order because it provides a legal recourse if the terms of the restraining order are violated. If the abuser violates the restraining order, they may be arrested or even face criminal charges. This serves as a very powerful deterrent to the abuser to refrain from any actions that violate the restraining order.
Restraining orders come in handy in child custody proceedings. The partner seeking custody may use a restraining order to show that the other partner has an abusive history and, therefore, is not fit for custody.
Although a restraining order is not a silver bullet that will solve all problems like trauma, it is a step in the right direction for dealing with domestic violence.
Domestic violence restraining orders are not the only types of restraining orders that one may file in a California court. Other types of orders include:
This type of restraining order is filed by someone who has been harassed, stalked, or threatened by someone else who is not their intimate partner. It can be used to protect against a neighbor, coworker, or even a stranger. The order prohibits the harasser from contacting or coming within a certain distance of the victim.
This type of restraining order is filed by an employer on behalf of an employee who has been threatened or harassed by a coworker or other person in the workplace. It can be used to protect against physical violence, threats, and stalking.
This type of restraining order is filed by an elderly or dependent adult who has been abused, neglected, or exploited. It can be used to protect against physical, financial, or emotional abuse by a caregiver, family member, or another person.
This type of restraining order is issued by a criminal court as part of a criminal case against the defendant. It can be used to protect the victim of a crime, such as domestic violence or stalking, from further harm by the defendant.
It is possible to fall on both sides of the spectrum, that is, file for a restraining order or defend yourself from one: some of the common defenses to restraining orders are;
A party may argue that the complainant consented to the act they are filing a restraining order against. If they initiated the act, then the defense is likely to succeed, although it has to be supported by evidence.
In most cases of physical violence, a party may plead self-defense. They may allege that they were hit first or felt like they were under imminent threat of a physical assault and that they had to act first.
The level of proof required in restraining order proceedings is proof beyond reasonable doubt. If the evidence submitted is inadequate to prove domestic violence, a party may argue a lack of evidence to prove violence.
Mental incapacity may be due to a medical diagnosis. The party seeking to rely on this defense must provide documentation to back the defense of mental incapacity.
It is important to comply with a restraining order. Otherwise, the consequences of breach may be unpleasant. Violation of a domestic violence restraining order may result into:
No, domestic violence restraining orders also include threats of physical violence, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, stalking and harassment.
Yes, domestic violence restraining orders are often issued in situations that require one party to leave their home for the safety of their partner. Leaving home for one partner may have negative implications on the party to leave, but the court can be compelled by sufficient evidence.
No longer than five (5) years. However, if the court finds good cause, it may issue one lasting more than five years.
If you need help with a restraining order, call 619-299-9780 to schedule a free telephone consultation or contact a San Diego family law specialist here.
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