Restraining Orders

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders / Civil Harassment Restraining Orders

Unfortunately, some individuals find themselves in situations where formal court orders of protection are needed.  Many types of alleged misconduct may be appropriately asserted in either a Domestic Violence Restraining Order Application or a Civil Harassment Restraining Order Application.  However, in order to determine which to file, the relationship between the protected party and the restrained party is crucial.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

A domestic violence restraining order is an order that helps protect you from someone with whom you have a close relationship and who is abusive. You may request a Domestic Violence Restraining Order against your spouse or former spouse, person you are dating, or person you have dated, the mother or father of your child, or anyone closely related to you by blood, marriage or adoption. Whether or not the issuance of a Domestic Violence Restraining Order is appropriate is guided by the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. Be aware that certain acts prohibited by the Domestic Violence Prevention Act are NOT limited to physical acts of violence. Verbal, emotional, psychological, and financial abuse may all be sufficient grounds under the law to acquire a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, even in the absence of physical violence. Technically, any actions which disturb the peace of another with whom you share a “close relationship” can constitute grounds for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.

Notably, the standard of proof needed to secure this type of order is quite low. In the criminal courts, one must be proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest legal burden of proof to satisfy, since somebody’s life and freedom is at stake. In a civil harassment restraining order proceeding, one must meet the burden of proof of clear and convincing evidence, which, while not as high of a burden as proof beyond a reasonable doubt, requires a very substantial showing nonetheless. However, in order to succeed in a Domestic Violence Restraining Order proceeding, the court uses the preponderance of the evidence standard, which is the lowest of all burdens of proof. This means that, if the court finds it more likely than not that one or more acts of domestic violence occurred, a protective order will issue. Viewed another way, if looking at the scales of justice, if the scales tip 51% toward “probably”, a Domestic Violence Restraining Order should legally be issued.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders may include orders telling that person what they cannot do to you, such as contacting you either directly or indirectly, or following you and/or stalking you. It may also have orders that tell that person to stay a certain distance away from your home, work, residence, or other public places. Domestic Violence Restraining Orders may also require the restrained property to vacate your residence, they will require the restrained party to surrender any firearms, and may permit the protected party to record unlawful communications. Child custody and support orders (child support and spousal support), as well as attorney’s fees and costs, may also be sought in a Domestic Violence Restraining Order Application.

Civil Harassment Restraining Orders

Civil Harassment Restraining Orders are quite similar to Domestic Violence Restraining Orders. However, the differentiating factor is the lack of presence of a close relationship between the protected party and the restrained party. Civil Harassment Restraining Orders differ from Family Law Domestic Violence Restraining Orders in that the order is not for people who have dated or who are closely related. You may seek protection if you are worried about your safety because you are being stalked, harassed, sexually assaulted, threatened, or otherwise placed in reasonable fear and apprehension, by someone you do not have a close relationship with, like a neighbor or roommate. These applications also differ from Domestic Violence Restraining Order Applications because the burden of proof is higher. The court will only grant this kind of a protective order if it is satisfied by clear and convincing evidence that the alleged misconduct has occurred, and there is a need to prevent that conduct from occurring in the future by issuing a protective order. Finally, filing fees must be paid when filing a Civil Harassment Restraining Order Application, whereas Domestic Violence Restraining Order applications require no filing fees.

Restraining Orders Sacramento

The Law Office of Kevin M. Cecil has handled hundreds of protective order applications over the past 13 years, sometimes representing the protected party, and sometimes representing the restrained party. Possessed with a vast wealth of knowledge and experience handling these kinds of matters, from all different vantage points, you could not be in better hands to guide you through this process and represent you in the courts.

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    Kevin M. Cecil

    Attorney at Law

    Meet Kevin M. Cecil

    Kevin M. Cecil is a lifelong Sacramento resident with an ongoing commitment toward service of the greater Sacramento community. Mr. Cecil graduated from California State University, Chico, and received his law degree from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. With experience in a variety of legal areas and settings, including, but not limited to, criminal defense, juvenile law, personal injury, and civil litigation, Mr. Cecil chose to concentrate on providing the best family law services in the greater Sacramento area, and has continued to do so for the past 13 years. He has assisted clients in many areas of family law, including divorce and legal separation, mediation, child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, domestic violence restraining orders, civil harassment restraining orders actions, guardianships, adoptions, and “ghostwriting” services.

    If you are seeking advice and/or legal representation from the leading divorce and family law lawyer in the greater Sacramento area, look no further than The Law Office of Kevin M. Cecil. Contact us to setup your consultation today!