How To Get a Restraining Order in San Diego County, CA Domestic violence is a situation no one ever wants or thinks they will be in, but sometimes life takes unexpected turns. Just remember that you are not alone. There are many resources to guide you through the San Diego restraining order (RO) process. You can access information and forms online and there are many advocates throughout the county who will assist you along the way.
Types of Restraining Orders Nationally, there are a number of different restraining orders such as a Workplace Violence Restraining Order or a Firearms Restraining Order. The 3 main restraining orders in San Diego are Civil Harassment ROs, Elderly/Dependent Abuse ROs, and Domestic Violence (DV) restraining orders. This article will concentrate on San Diego restraining orders in cases of domestic violence.
What Makes It a Domestic Violence Restraining Order? The main difference between the 3 types of restraining orders in San Diego County is the relationship between the petitioner (victim) and the respondent. To be deemed a domestic violence situation, you must have a “close” relationship, in which at least one of the following is true, from the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego website::
- You are married or were formerly married to the other party.
- You have or formerly had an engagement or dating relationship with the other party.
- You and the other party have a child or children together.
- You are related to the other party by blood, marriage or adoption, e.g., (mother, father, in-laws, siblings, adult children).
- You and the other party are living together, or formerly lived together, as members of a “household.”
How Can a Domestic Violence Restraining Order Help You? At your Domestic Violence Restraining Order hearing, the judge can issue different subcategories of orders.
- Personal Conduct Order: This restricts specifics acts such as phone calls or texting, stalking, or destruction of personal property.
- Stay-away Order: A stay-away order establishes a distance from which the respondent must stay away from the victim.
- Residence Exclusion Order: This order requires that the respondent must move out of a shared household and take only his or her clothing and personal belongings.
How Do I Get a San Diego Restraining Order? Step 1: Make a safety plan with your children determining how to get out in an emergency, where to go, and emergency phone numbers to contact. Step 2: Go to the Family Justice Center or the nearest county courthouse. They are a one-stop-shop for counseling, legal help, assistance with forms and procedure, and they have a restraining order clinic. Step 3: Utilize the free help available to ensure that you are completing all of the necessary steps and filling out your paperwork correctly. In San Diego County you can go to:
For more information and to find out about more resources, you can also call 888-DV-LINKS (888-385-4657) or go to www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp. Remember to use outside communication, like a computer at a public library or a phone from a trusted friend or family member, and that there is NO CHARGE to file for a temporary restraining order. Step 4: Your temporary restraining order is in effect as soon as a correctly completed application is filed. At that time you will get a hearing date and there will be three copies of the orders. One copy goes into a statewide database that can be accessed by all law enforcement. One copy will go to you as the petitioner, and the sheriff’s department will serve the third copy to the respondent. Step 5: This is when the sheriff’s department will serve the hearing order to the respondent. Before they serve, they will try to get as much information from you, the petitioner, as possible. For example, does the petitioner have access to weapons or are there dogs or other animals on site that could be dangerous. The order will be served within 5 days, and you can check online at sdsheriff.net or call 858-974-2110 to find out the status of the service. There may also be financial assistance available to cover the fee for serving. Step 6: Go to your restraining order hearing. If you, as the petitioner, do not attend, the restraining order will be dismissed. There are many advocate groups throughout San Diego County that will accompany you to the courthouse and stay with you through the hearing and after, so at no time do you have to do this alone. Step 7: This is a TEMPORARY restraining order, so it will expire. Within approximately 20 days you will need to go to court again to get a permanent restraining order. Yes, a restraining order is only as good as the piece of paper on which it is written, so you must always be diligently aware of your surroundings. By obtaining a San Diego restraining order, you are taking the first step to leading a safe and happy life.
- Family Law Court – Downtown San Diego
- South Bay Courthouse – Chula Vista
- El Cajon Courthouse
- Vista Courthouse
Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.