When a person you trust and know unexpectedly hurts or threatens to hurt you, it is natural that you'd want to get help right away. However, it could take several months to get a permanent California restraining order that would keep the perpetrator away from you for a long period. In the meantime, you can apply for an emergency protective order. Our team at the Restraining Order Law Firm focuses solely on restraining orders. If you need assistance getting an emergency protective order or need to be represented when a protective order is brought against you, then you can get in touch with our attorneys in Los Angeles.

An Overview of Emergency Protective Order

Domestic violence victims have multiple options for criminal and civil protective orders. Protective orders can't prevent the perpetrator from hurting or stalking a victim. The law grants victims the legal right to call law enforcement officers and request that the perpetrator be detained right away in the event of any disruption from the offender.

When a domestic dispute occurs, law enforcement officials could ask any of the involved parties to leave the residence. The perpetrator of domestic violence often leaves the house. Law enforcement officers have the right to confiscate weapons, like firearms, from a domestic violence incident.

A commissioner or magistrate can grant the emergency protective order, or EPO, at the appeal of the victim or police officer. Judicial officers are required to collect evidence before issuing a restraining order under the provisions of California FC 6250.3. An EPO gives a victim space to apply for a more extended restraining order while offering protection for a short time, often 3 to 7 days.

Aside from victims of domestic violence, emergency protective orders can be beneficial to victims of child abuse, harassment, and stalking. EPOs are easy to get, and a law enforcement officer or victim can contact the magistrate right away to seek one without attending court. An emergency protective order takes effect before the proceedings begin and helps to avert any impending danger. A judge can issue an "ex parte" protective order, meaning that the other side is not required to appear in court.

The applicant should provide compelling proof of domestic abuse to get an EPO. According to California’s FC 6250, the person requesting an emergency protection order can point to recent instances of threats or abuse by the alleged defendant as proof of violence.

The term "domestic violence" implies violent acts perpetrated by one family member against the other. It could involve mistreating a spouse, an intimate partner, or children. Emergency protective orders can, in some circumstances, extend beyond the victim to include additional individuals. The law applies to the victim's children and other close family members.

Understanding Domestic Violence

Domestic violence involves any kind of violence or an imminent threat of being harmed by an immediate member of a family with whom the alleged victim has had an intimate or close relationship. Intimate relationships can take several forms.

An intimate partner could be a domestic partner, spouse, fiancée, a person you've had an intimate relationship with, somebody you had a minor with, or a person you live with.

Domestic abuse charges vary based on factors like:

  • The nature of injuries sustained by the victim.
  • If an existing restraining or protective order has been violated.
  • Whether a child was present when the attack occurred.

Anyone can be a victim or perpetrator of domestic abuse. Cases of domestic violence often escalate to more serious offenses like murder or rape. Most of the time, the offenses are minor.

Definition of Abuse

Abuse can be defined in these ways:

  • Causing or trying to cause bodily injury to another person without regard for the consequences. Physical abuse doesn't always imply striking the alleged victim. It can also involve pushing, pulling hair, kicking, or other kinds of physical assault.
  • Sexual assault occurs when the offender makes unwanted sexual approaches toward the victim.
  • Scaring the victim with threats of physical assault.
  • Abuse can also take the form of intrusive behavior that disturbs the victim's peace of mind, like stalking and harassment.
  • Threatening to or destroying a victim's personal property.

Domestic abuse doesn't always include physical violence. Other forms of abuse include emotional, psychological, and verbal abuse. Abusers apply a variety of techniques to gain control and power over the affected victim.

The Purpose of Emergency Protective Orders

EPOs are quick and simple to obtain, but they offer significant protection for abuse victims:

  • The order prohibits the perpetrator from getting in touch or speaking with the alleged victim unless the court has permitted it. The victim is not allowed to communicate with the perpetrator. Victims won't get any phone threats or any uncomfortable communication from the perpetrator, so they can relax and have peace of mind.
  • The restraining order prevents the offender from harming the victim in any way further. Once you have an EPO, you won't experience any kind of psychological or physical attack again.
  • The emergency restraining order prevents the perpetrator from breaking into or damaging the victim's property. The order specifies how far away from the alleged victim the perpetrator is required to stay. If you hold an EPO, the perpetrator won't come near the house or your workplace because it's against the law. If a child has been abused, the perpetrator shouldn't go near the minor's home or their place of education.
  • A restraining emergency order mandates that the perpetrator vacate the residence they share with the person who was attacked. If the victim lives in the same house as the offender, it could be difficult to protect them. The victim needs to be physically separated from the perpetrator to keep them safe.
  • When there are minors involved, the victim often gets the custodial rights of the minors from the court. Given their aggressive tendencies, the perpetrator is unfit to look after the kids.
  • The court can add extra restrictions to the emergency protective order based on the circumstances of the case. The judge could forbid the perpetrator from contacting the victim's close family members or friends either in person or via another channel, such as the phone.

When a court grants an emergency protective order, the information is entered into a nationwide database that is accessible to all police officers. The emergency protective order is applicable throughout the country. For example, you need to alert the appropriate law enforcement agency in the other jurisdiction if you relocate out of state during the emergency protective order period.

If you relocate to California with an EPO issued in a different jurisdiction, California legislation, and law enforcement agencies will assist you in complying with the order. 

Effects of Emergency Protective Orders on a Defendant

The repercussions associated with having the emergency restraining order issued against you can be serious. An EPO could have the following effects on the perpetrator:

  • You are not allowed to explore specific areas or carry out certain activities. For example, until the protective order is lifted, you can’t go near the victim's residence.
  • You could be separated from your minors for an extended period. The court can bar you from visiting your child in school or even coming within a certain distance.
  • You can lose your right to carry or own a weapon. The law mandates that you turn over your firearm to the law enforcement authorities if you happened to have one at that moment of the crime. The process of getting your weapon back can be very complicated.
  • You will have to leave your residence to comply with the emergency restraining order. Once an emergency protective order is put in place, the perpetrators of domestic abuse often leave the residence.
  • In some cases, the EPO can have an impact on your immigration record.

Process of Enforcing Emergency Protective Orders

The process starts with the victim filing a case to plead for an emergency protective order. The alleged victim needs to demonstrate to the court the specific restrictions required and the justifications for the requests for the restraining order. The judge considers the petition before deciding whether to issue an emergency protective order. Normally, the court decides within one working day or less to avoid any inherent threat or subsequent assaults on the alleged victim.

When a judge grants an emergency restraining order, they often issue temporary restraining orders with a maximum duration of 7 days. This order summarizes all EPO terms and is often effective until the victim requests a permanent restraining order at the subsequent court date.

A draft copy of your emergency protective order should be delivered to the perpetrator. You don't need to personally drop off the copy as the victim. Instead, your lawyer can help you notify the perpetrator that an emergency protective order has been issued against them.

The offender has two options following receipt of the EPO, that is either to comply with the directive or submit a response to the protective order outlining their side of the incident. Once the seven-day emergency restraining order period runs out, the offender and victim appear in court for their first court proceeding.

If the alleged victim does not appear for the court proceeding, the emergency protective order expires, and no further protection is available to them. If the perpetrator fails to appear for the legal proceedings, they won't be able to make a contribution or provide their version of what happened.

In this case, the judge decides without the offender being present. The court can decide to grant a permanent protective order following the hearing, which could hinder the offender from getting close to the alleged victim or even the involved minors.

Limitations of Emergency Protective Orders

There are specific things that an emergency restraining order can't do, even if it protects the victim from further harm by the offender.

A domestic partnership or marriage cannot be terminated by a protective order. The EPO can't dissolve the ties between the victim and the perpetrator. It can only shield the victim against assaults from a domestic partner or spouse. The victim can only dissolve the marriage through divorce.

Unless the victim is married to the perpetrator or in a legally recognized domestic relationship with him or her, the protective order can't prove the parentage of the victim's child with the perpetrator. If this relationship doesn't exist, the judicial system will only recognize the victim's choice if him/her and their spouse can agree on raising the minors. 

How Long Do Emergency Restrictive Orders Last?

The emergency protective order is only in effect for a limited time while the victim pursues long-term protection. Permanent restraining orders or temporary restraining orders can be used as a long-term protection measure. 

Infringing an Emergency Protective Order

When a defendant violates the terms of an emergency restraining order, they could incur additional consequences. If a minor is involved, the defendant could lose future chances of getting visitation or custodial rights due to an infringement of the EPO guidelines.

The victim should contact law enforcement as soon as the perpetrator violates an EPO condition. The defendant could face penalties for a misdemeanor, contempt of court, or felony. If a person violates a protective order by taking or hiding a minor, they could be charged with a felony and incur hefty fines, serve time behind bars, or do both.

A felony crime is the most serious type of offense that can be committed. Often, felony offenses carry sentences of up to one year in prison. The prison sentence terms for felonies are served in state or federal prisons, not local jails. Breaking EPO orders carries serious penalties when a minor is involved.

Additionally, a person can be punished under the Violence Against Women Act, also known as VAWA, if they cross state or tribal boundaries with the intent of infringing a protective order. The act was enacted in the year 1994, with a few amendments added in 1996. These statutes lay out funding schemes to protect women from domestic abuse.

The VAWA legislation prohibits an abuser from following the alleged victim to other jurisdictions. Additionally, the perpetrator of abuse cannot compel the purported victim to move out of their existing state of residency.

The following are some ways that VAWA significantly helps domestic violence victims:

  • It boosts the total financing program for rape kits and also covers all expenses for domestic abuse protective orders.
  • Under VAWA, all state, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions in the country should recognize and uphold domestic violence protective orders.
  • It makes sure that law enforcement officers receive the necessary training on sexual and domestic abuse.
  • Helping law enforcement effectively prosecute those responsible for domestic violence on innocent people, and allowing immigrants with their green card application even if they lack some required documentation.

How a Lawyer Can Help the Victim

You can underestimate the value of hiring a lawyer when pursuing an emergency restraining order. The procedure could seem simple, tempting you to consider doing it on your own. However, you should have legal counsel on your side, especially if there are minors involved.

A lawyer can assist you in demonstrating to the court that you are eligible for an EPO. To get an emergency protective order request approved, you should demonstrate that the alleged abuse occurred. You also need to demonstrate that you're the victim, not the perpetrator. It would be beneficial if you hired a professional counsel who comprehends the legal procedure to guarantee that you have an EPO granted as quickly as possible to prevent any further assaults.

You shouldn't put up with domestic violence. Consult a lawyer if you believe that the conditions put you or your minors in danger. During the court proceedings, a lawyer will legally represent you, provide legal advice, and file the required papers.

How a Lawyer Can Help the Defendant

When you learn that you are the target of an emergency restraining order, you should speak with a lawyer immediately. Domestic violence laws are complex and have serious repercussions if you violate them.

If you don't get legal advice, a temporary protective order can become a long-term protective order that can potentially last longer than five years. Restraining orders can prevent you from meeting and contacting your child if you share them with the alleged victim.

Once the emergency protection order period runs out, the case is heard in trial. If you don't show up for court, the proceeding will go ahead without you, and the victim could end up with custody of your child. For this reason, having a lawyer present at all of your court appearances is important. This can help you get a more favorable result and lessen the charges brought against you.

Find a Protective Order Lawyer Near Me

If you’re subjected to any type of domestic abuse, you should consider the counsel of a professional law firm, such as the Restraining Order Law Firm. We have lawyers who can assist you in getting the security you require and preventing further assaults. If an appeal is brought against you and you are found to be a defendant, our legal team will partner with you in building a solid defense against the charges. Call us today at 424-600-7691 to talk with one of our lawyers in Los Angeles.