If you are a victim of harassment, assault, domestic violence, or stalking, you can protect yourself from the abuser through a permanent restraining order (PRO). Typically, judges in Los Angeles issue temporary decrees to save individuals, but when necessary, they grant PROs. At the Restraining Order Law Firm, we have highlighted instances when a PRO is essential, the process of obtaining one, and its impact on the recipient.

Understanding Permanent Restraining Orders (PROs)

Restraining orders (ROs), or protective orders (POs), are mandatory judge-issued decrees protecting the accuser against the purported abuser. The two primary types of ROs are temporary and permanent.

A PRO is a legal decree issued by the judge and lasts no more than five years. The term “permanent” does not mean that the directive exists forever. Nevertheless, when the duration lapses, you can request a renewal when you feel your abuser is still a threat. The various orders issued are intended to protect different kinds of people. Activities that prompt the issuance of PROs are:

  1. Harassment

Harassing another person puts them in an antagonistic situation, depending on the offender’s behavior and how you address them. For instance, when someone talks to you in a demeaning fashion, it amounts to harassment and can prompt you to seek a PRO against them.

  1. Threatening Violence

You can seek a PRO against an abuser when they threaten you with violence. When seeking protection, you present the threats as evidence. If the threats become assault, the judge will rule that you were under threat, giving you a PRO.

  1. Stalking a Person

Stalking is a crime under California law because the conduct defies someone else’s privacy and includes accessing restricted areas without authorization. You can cite their persistent following, calls, messages, or emails as proof of stalking, causing the judge to grant a PRO.

  1. Physical Abuse

When an offender’s conduct against you culminates in physical abuse or violence, you can seek a PRO against the abuser. The judge does not require you to have visible injuries for them to issue the decree. All they need is proof of unwanted physical contact.

Again, even if the assault was indirect, the court can restrain the offender from directly interacting with you. Indirect physical assault happens when the abuser crafts dangerous conditions to injure or hurt you.

Domestic Violence (DV) in Marriages

The judge can only grant a PRO if your description of the abuse by a spouse or intimate partner conforms to California’s domestic violence or abuse definition. DV under California statutes refers to sexual or emotional abuse of a person who is your spouse, a former spouse or intimate partner, a family member, or a relative. The offense is broad and includes psychological, emotional, physical, and verbal abuse. The typical examples of DV are:

  • Sexual abuse.
  • Battering.
  • Property damage.
  • Stalking.
  • Threats of violence.
  • Intimidation.

The decision of the prosecutor to charge the offense as a felony or misdemeanor depends on the nature of the case. The DA will consider the injury's severity, DV record, criminal history, and the apprehension's circumstances.

You can petition for a DV permanent restraining order to restrain another party from threatening you if you feel you are under threat and need protection. PROs are issued in DV incidents to shield you, the accuser, from abuse, threats, or intimidation from someone in your inner circle with whom you are related by blood or choice through a romantic relationship. Obtaining a PRO in these situations is difficult because the person you are accusing is close to you. You will need the Restraining Order Law Firm in Los Angeles to help convince the judge to issue a decree.

Once a decree has been issued against the alleged perpetrator, the law prohibits them from physically contacting the accuser, their property, children, or pets. Besides, the decree forbids them from texting, emailing, or sending someone to deliver their message to you.

Types of DV Restraining Orders

Apart from PRO, the judge or a law enforcement officer can issue three other forms of RO. These include:

Emergency Protective Orders (EPOs)

An EPO is the only form of restraining order never issued by a judge. It is the cop responding to a DV call that requests it on the accuser’s behalf after evaluating the situation on the ground. The officer requests the order because they are in the field and are better positioned to assess a dangerous situation and take immediate action. If the officer neglects to take action and you sustain injuries or property damage, you can sue the state.

EPOs take effect immediately after an officer requests them but only last seven days. The decree keeps the abuser away from the family for a week. Before the lapse of the seven days, you must visit the local courthouse to petition for a PRO if the situation is dire.

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)

The judge issues a TRO under Family Code 6200. The decree is short-term and intended to restrain the accused from interacting with the accuser or their children. You must make this request within seven days before the EPO expires. However, even though TPOs are customarily issued after the issuance of EPOs, you do not need an EPO for the court to grant a temporary decree. You only need to visit a courthouse in Los Angeles and complete the necessary forms.

Unlike a PRO, a TRO does not require the judge to hold a hearing to deliberate on the matter. They will check the filled-out paperwork and issue a decision within a day. If your situation warrants protection, the judge will issue a decree; if not, the application will be denied, and you will have to fill out the forms again. When applying for a TRO for the second time, it is essential to retain the services of a restraining order attorney to ensure that you capture the correct information necessary to compel the judge to grant the warrant.

Even TPOs are stopovers to permanent protective orders because they only last up to thirty days, after which both the accuser and abuser will appear in court for a hearing.

Criminal Restraining Orders

When DV involves committing a crime like sexual assault, you will need a CPO. These decrees do not have an expiration date because they are valid until the abuser faces trial in a criminal court. When the purported abuser is convicted, the decree lasts for an additional 36 months. If you fear the abuser will come after you when they complete their jail or prison sentence, you can petition for a PRO.

Conditions for Obtaining a PRO

In California, you can only obtain a permanent protective decree if you can demonstrate to the court that you have a relationship with the alleged abuser and that they have committed specific acts against you. The conditions you must satisfy for the judge to grant this decree are:

  • You have proof that the alleged abuser has hurt you or threatened to do so.
  • You and the person you seek the order against have a close relationship like current or ex-spouse, current or ex-intimate partner, ex or current cohabitant, close relative, or the natural parent to your child.

You are eligible for a PRO if a party abusing you meets this criterion. When you do not qualify to petition for a PRO, you can seek protection through other restraining or protective orders, like a CPO or TPO.

The Process of Obtaining DV Permanent Protective Decree

A cop can request an EPO depending on the situation in your home if you report harassment, assault, or DV. Whether the judge grants it or not, you must visit the court to obtain a TPO to permanently restrain the alleged abuser from ever coming close to your family or property. If your application for a temporary restraining order is accepted, the court will schedule a date for a PRO proceeding. Ensure that you note this date down because if you miss it, the court will rule in favor of the abuser.

The alleged abuser also receives notice of the arranged hearing. If they fail to appear, the judge’s ruling on the decree will favor you because there is no opposition. Therefore, the abuser must attend the hearing to share their side of events leading to the EPO or TPO.

The judge schedules a PRO hearing to make a temporary decree permanent or lengthen it. To build a compelling argument for the directives in Los Angeles, the Restraining Order Law Firm can help. We will guide you through the proceeding and make arguments for the PRO. When the judge grants your petition for PRO, the abuser’s conduct will continue to be restrained like in a TPO, although this time for up to sixty months, based on the judge’s discretion.

Orders Available in PROs

The official documents the judge will issue after granting your PRO petition are:

  1. Stay Away Orders

Upon the issuance of a PRO, your abuser will receive documents directing them to stay away from you. Some orders even mention the distance the abuser should maintain from you. With these directives, you are safe because they cannot come too close to you. For example, the court can order the perpetrator to stay 100 yards from you, regardless of your location. They will be forced to avoid the places you visited together when you were on good terms, like restaurants, because violating the court’s orders will result in criminal charges.

  1. Move out Directives

If you share a home with the abuser, a PRO will direct them to move out. The court will order the abuser out to secondary housing because they are the source of unrest. If the abuser committed a crime causing the orders to be issued, they will be asked to leave the house immediately, failing which they will face charges for violating a restraining order. Once they are out of the shared home, the court can further instruct them not to contact or visit your home or workplace.

  1. Victim Restitution

The judge also instructs the offender or restrained party to compensate you for legal fees and other expenses resulting from the harassment, abuse, or assault, like medical costs. If you lost income due to the incident or relocated, the abuser must cover these costs. Again, the court will instruct the offender to pay you and other abuse victims restitution.

  1. Mandatory Counseling

Another directive the judge will issue is for the abuser to attend a batterer intervention course for 52fifty-two weeks, undergo a physical assessment from a competent psychologist, and attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and drug rehabilitation. The counseling the court will recommend depends on the cause of the domestic violence. The objective is to rehabilitate the offenders and make them responsible citizens.

  1. Custody Arrangements

After putting the child under your care, the court can direct the accused to pay spousal and child support. Also, the judge can grant or deny visitation based on the circumstances surrounding the divorce or DV incident.

  1. CLETS Entry

The California Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (CLETS) is a tracking computer system that alerts all state agencies responsible for security about a restraining order, the party it is issued against, and the circumstances surrounding the decree. When the court grants a PRO, your details are entered into the system, and you are directed to relinquish your firearm to the authorities. 

Effects of PROs on the Recipient

EPOs, TPOs, and PROs have the same adverse effects on recipients. The only difference is the duration of the directives. The primary objective of PROs is to prevent any physical contact with the victim. However, apart from barring physical contact, a PRO will adversely affect various aspects of your life.

One of the areas it significantly affects is child custody. The court assumes the abuser cannot physically care for and control a child. Therefore, even if the individual had custodial rights, these rights would be significantly limited or stripped altogether. California statutes have a provision prohibiting parents convicted of DV from retaining custodial rights to protect the child.

The court can only reinstate these rights when the abuser proves that they are rehabilitated and no longer pose a threat to their family. Demonstrating the significant steps taken towards ensuring the minor’s safety despite the DV conviction can help them obtain back child custody and visitation rights.

However, it would help if you did not falsely accuse a spouse or cohabitant of DV to gain an advantage in a custodial battle. A PRO being issued against your partner does not guarantee the court will give a verdict on child custody in your favor. The determination of custodial rights happens in a family court.

Also, a PRO will restrict the offender’s firearm ownership rights. If a PRO has been issued against an offender, it indicates they are a threat to the community and should not be allowed to own a firearm.

Again, finding employment will be challenging because of the criminal record. The recipient’s name will appear on the National Crime Information Center list, which contains the names of all offenders in the country. Employers typically visit the site when running background checks on prospective employees. If an offender is on the registry, his or her chances of obtaining employment are slim. Potential employers fear recruiting people whom the law deems dangerous to others, so even if one is qualified, the PRO can be used as the basis for disqualification.

Furthermore, a recipient of a PRO is not eligible for child adoption or fostering, even if they can prove they are rehabilitated. Also, if the restraining directive recipient is a school worker, chances are high that they will lose the job.

Other restrictions imposed on PRO recipients are:

  • Decent housing denial.
  • Game hunting ban.
  • Denial of the right to live on American soil.

Limitations of a PRO

PROs are highly effective in ensuring an offender goes away from you, your pets, property, and children for an extended duration. Nevertheless, some elements of your relationship with the offender cannot be severed by the decree. A PRO will not grant you a divorce or nullify your matrimony. Therefore, you must take the matter to the family court and hire a family law attorney to annul the marriage.

Also, when you want to establish parentage for children with an abuser who is a cohabitant or a registered domestic partner, a PRO will not determine the issue. It would be best to pursue other avenues, like agreeing to end the partnership or allowing a court judge to rule on parentage. You can do this by filling out DV-180 and the Agreement and Judgment of Parentage.

Amending a PRO

A PRO outlines all the details of what the court protects you against. However, if you are unsatisfied with the protection, you can petition to amend the decree to include more security.

On the other hand, the offender can also request amendments by requesting the judge review their initial orders. The court will grant the amendment petition if it does not endanger the victim's children.

The permanence of PROs depends on the judge’s discretion. If the judge believes the abuser is a changed person, they can lift the decree, but only if you and other parties protected by the restraining order agree.

Find an Experienced Protective Decree Attorney Near Me

When someone engages in activities like harassment, domestic abuse, physical abuse, stalking, or threats, seeking a permanent protective decree against the abuser is the best course of action. The directives keep the offender away from you, enabling you to live peacefully. The Restraining Order Law Firm helps individuals like you obtain PROs in Los Angeles. Contact us today at 424-600-7691 to remove the danger from you and your loved ones.