Harassment and stalking are significant concerns in California. If you suffer harassment or credible threats from another individual, you can file for a restraining order under California law. A civil harassment restraining order aims to protect you from harassment or harm by a stranger and prevent further abuse.

The process of seeking a Civil Harassment Restraining Order (CHRO) involves filling out the necessary paperwork and submitting it to the court. Additionally, the judge expects you to justify the need for a restraining order. Some restraining order requests in California are built on exaggerated situations, misunderstandings, or falsified violence claims.

Therefore, if you are served with a civil harassment restraining order, you can contest the action. If you seek a restraining order or are served with one in Los Angeles, CA, you will benefit from the legal insight we offer at the Restraining Order Law Firm.

Understanding a Civil Harassment Restraining Order (CHRO)

Under California law, civil harassment is defined as stalking, asexual assault, or abuse threats by a stranger. The court can issue a CHRO to protect you if you have suffered these forms of abuse.

The most significant difference between the domestic violence restraining order and the CHRO is your relationship with the abuser. Like other court orders, you must follow a specific procedure to obtain a restraining order against another person.

Obtaining a Civil Harassment Restraining Order

The process of obtaining a CHRO follows the following steps:

Fill out the Restraining Order Forms

The first step is to fill out the forms that tell the court about the threats, harassment, or stalking. The necessary forms to begin this process include:

  • Form CH-100. This form is a request for the CHRO. In Form CH-200, you will describe why you need a restraining order and what orders you want the judge to issue. If you need immediate protection, you can use this form to inform the judge of the requirement.
  • Form CLETS-001. Police officers will only use the information you indicate on this form to enforce the order. The person you wish to restrain will not receive a copy of this document.
  • Form CH-109. This form acts as a notice of a court hearing for the restraining order. The court completes most parts of this form.
  • Form CH-110. Form CH-110 is a temporary restraining order necessary for individuals needing immediate protection.
  • Form CM-010. This form informs the court of the basic information about the case you are filing.

When you file for a CHRO, you need at least two copies of each document. Therefore, you must duplicate them when you complete the necessary information.

Serve the Defendant with Your Request for a CHRO

A restraining order is only valid if the restrained person is notified. In this case, the defendant must be notified when you request the order. When you complete all the paperwork, you should ensure that the restrained person is served immediately. You can serve a restraining order through the sheriff by following these steps:

  • Contact the sheriff. You can contact the sheriff of the home county of the person you want protection from and ask for a location to drop off your court papers.
  • Submit all your petition documents to the sheriff. If you still need to complete one of the necessary forms for a restraining order, the sheriff may have the document in their office for you to complete.
  • Pay the necessary fees. The fee for delivery of your forms through the sheriff is $45. However, you may only need to pay something if the judge grants you a fee waiver.
  • Receive paperwork back from the sheriff. If the sheriff can successfully deliver your forms to the intended person, an officer must complete a form showing the other party received the document, and the court case can proceed.

Prepare and Attend the Court Hearing

The court issues a hearing date that you must attend before a CHRO is issued. You can do the following to prepare for the court date:

  • Gather all the evidence. At the hearing, you must convince the court why the order is necessary for your protection. If you have photographs of injuries or threatening messages, you can print them out and take them to court. Additionally, you can bring witnesses who can testify to your account of events.
  • Note down what you want to say to the judge. It would help if you made notes on things you wanted to say to the judge. You can read through the court papers to check out anything else you want to notify the court of.

You and the person against you seeking the restraining order will have a chance to speak before the court. The court will listen to either side and review the evidence before deciding on the CHRO.

Terms of a Civil Harassment Restraining Order

If the judge issues a CHRO, the restrained individual must follow through with the following conditions:

  • No contact. The restrained person must avoid all forms of contact with the alleged victim of harassment. This includes physical contact and electronic communication.
  • Stay a certain distance from a protected person. In addition to avoiding contact with a protected person, the court sets a specific distance within which you must stay away from that person. Attempting to be near the person can trigger charges for a restraining order violation.
  • Firearm ban. In California, you can legally purchase a firearm. If the judge issues a civil harassment restraining order against you, you will be banned from purchasing and using firearms.
  • Avoid threatening, stalking, or harassing the person. The court aims to stop the pattern of harassment by issuing a CHRO.

Renewing a Civil Harassment Restraining Order

Civil harassment restraining orders can protect you for as long as five years. You can request that the judge extend the validity duration of your restraining order before it expires if the other person threatens your safety and well-being. The judge indicates the expiration date of your restraining order on the first page of the order.

Three months before your order expires, you can follow this procedure to have the order renewed:

Fill the Forms

When you want to renew your CHRO, you must fill out these forms:

  • Form CH-700, which is a request to renew your restraining order.
  • Form CH-710, which is a notice of hearing for restraining order renewal.

After filling out these forms, you must attach a copy of the order. Your lawyer will review your paperwork to ensure you filled it out correctly before proceeding to the next step.

Fill out the Court Forms

You can ask the local court clerk about the forms you must complete. Sometimes, the local court forms are available on their website, where you can download and fill them out without going to the court clerk. After filling out these forms, you must make at least two copies of the document and serve one to the restrained person.

Take the Forms to Court

The court clerk will submit the documents to a judge when you finish the paperwork. The judge then signs a notice of hearing, and the paperwork is returned to you. The court clerk will notify you if the judge wants to talk with you. In the notice, the judge sets a restraining order renewal hearing date. The terms of the restraining order will be valid until you attend the hearing.

Responding to a CHRO Granted Against You

Restraining orders will limit your contact with the alleged victims of harassment. You will be served with the following documents if another person takes out a CHRO against you:

  • Request for a civil harassment restraining order. This document contains all the orders the other person wants the judge to make.
  • Notice of a court hearing. This form notifies you of your requirement to attend the court hearing. At this hearing, you can explain to the court why you disagree with the order.
  • Temporary restraining order. If you are an immediate threat to someone else, the court could issue a TRO. Receiving Form CH-110 notifies you of a temporary restraining order against you.

As a response to a restraining order taken out against you, you should:

  • Fill out the response form. Form CH-120 notifies the court and the other party that you have received the notice for a CHRO and your intentions for the hearing.
  • Make copies of the forms.
  • Bring the documents to the courthouse.
  • Attend the remaining order hearing.

Violation of a CHRO

You must follow all the court-ordered terms until the restraining order expires. You will be arrested and charged under PC 273.6 if you violate the restraining order terms. When you face charges under this statute, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:

  • The court issued a lawful restraining order against you.
  • You received notice of the order.
  • You were able to follow the conditions of the order.
  • You willfully violated the terms of the protective order.

A violation of civil harassment is charged as a misdemeanor. However, you could face wobbler charges if you are a repeat offender or the violation involved a violent act. When charged as a misdemeanor, an offense under PC 273.6 is punished by a one-year jail sentence.

You could spend up to three years in state prison if charged with a felony restraining order violation. Sometimes, you can escape incarceration by securing a probation sentence. The court will send you on misdemeanor or felony probation if your violation is not serious. You will need a competent lawyer if you or a loved one faces charges for violating a protective order.

Defense Against Charges for Violation of a Restraining Order

You can present these defenses if you are charged with violating a CHRO:

  • The violation was not willful. You will only be found guilty of violating the CHRO if your actions were intentional. If your contact with the alleged victim was accidental, you can avoid a conviction under PC 273.6.
  • Lack of knowledge. You must be notified when a person obtains a CHRO against you. The court cannot find you guilty of violating an order you know nothing about.
  • False allegations. You can use this defense against your charges for violating a restraining order. Some violations, like prohibited physical contact, cannot be adequately proven. Therefore, you can argue that you did not violate the alleged restraining order condition.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Civil Harassment Restraining Order

Most people will need clarification on the necessary steps to ensure their safety and protect their rights. The following are frequently asked questions on civil harassment restraining orders:

What are the Effects of a CHRO Against You?

If the court grants the request to restrain you, your life could be affected in the following ways:

  • Movement restrictions. The court issues a CHRO to protect a victim of harassment and stalking. If the order is granted against you, you may be prohibited from visiting certain areas or doing things that will create contact between you and the alleged victim.
  • Loss of firearm rights. A person who stalks or harasses another person is considered a threat. Therefore, when the permanent restraining order is issued, the court will mandate that you surrender your firearms to law enforcement.
  • Cost of legal fees for the victim. When a person is successfully granted a CHRO against you, you may be responsible for their legal fees.
  • Possible jail time for violating the order. You are at risk of incarceration and other serious penalties when a restraining order is granted against you. This will occur when you violate the court-ordered conditions.

How long will a CHRO last?

Your restraining order could remain effective for up to five years from the date of your court hearing. Some orders, like temporary restraining orders, will expire after several months and are used to protect a victim before a permanent order is issued. If a CHRO protects you, you can request the judge to renew it when the five-year period ends.

Does sending an email to another person count as a violation of the restraining order?

You must avoid contact with the alleged victim of your actions after the court issues the restraining order. Harassment can be physical or through other forms of communication. Therefore, if you send the protected person an email, you could face an arrest and charges for violating the CHRO.

Other Types of Restraining Orders

In addition to the CHRO, there are other types of restraining orders used to protect victims, and they include:

Domestic Violence Restraining Order

The court can issue a restraining order to protect a victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence, in this case, involves threats and injuries inflicted by the following individuals:

  • Domestic partners.
  • Individuals in a dating relationship.
  • Someone with whom you have a child.

The judge will order against:

  • Inflicting physical or emotional abuse on the victim.
  • Personal or electronic contact.
  • Stalking and harassment.

In addition to these conditions, defendants may be required to surrender their firearms and attend a batterer’s program.

Workplace Violence Restraining Order

An employer obtains a workplace violence restraining order to protect an employee from immediate danger and unlawful violence at the workplace. An employer can only request this type of restraining order. If an employee seeks protection from a co-worker, they can explore the following:

  • Civil harassment restraining order.
  • Elder abuse restraining order.

Workplace violence restraining orders often last for up to three years. When applying for the order, an employee must describe why they require protection from their coworker. The judge will then review the request and issue a temporary order. You can contest a workplace restraining order by attending a hearing.

Find a Competent Restraining Order Lawyer Near Me

The court issues a civil harassment restraining order to protect victims of harassment and stalking. You can seek this restraining order if you are harassed or stalked by someone else. However, you should not have an existing relationship with the person you seek protection against. The CHRO prevents the other person from contacting you.

Before you obtain the CHRO, you must demonstrate to the court that the defendant poses a threat of harassment or harm to you. If your argument is convincing enough, the court can issue the order, which lasts for up to five years. A person can seek a restraining order against you if you threaten another person's safety. In this case, you will be notified of the order and can contest it in a court hearing.

The insight of a reliable attorney is critical when you seek a restraining order or are served with one. Your attorney will guide you through filing the relevant paperwork and responding to the domestic violence order. At the Restraining Order Law Firm, we will offer the expert legal guidance and representation you need to deal with civil harassment restraining orders in Los Angeles,CA. Call us today at 424-600-7691 to discuss your case.