The state has put a lot of effort in dealing with domestic violence cases. One of the state's measures is providing an opportunity to place a restraining order on domestic violence perpetrators. Partners undergoing domestic violence can seek an emergency protective order once they suspect that their partner poses a danger to their lives. You should find legal help straight away to get relevant legal guidance while seeking or contesting against an emergency protective order. At Leah Legal, we offer credible legal services to anyone seeking assistance in getting an emergency protective order or seeking any legal services related to domestic violence in Los Angeles.
Definition of Emergency Protective Order in California and How it Works
An Emergency Protective Order, which is commonly abbreviated as EPO, is a legal order issued to a person who is reasonably believed to be in immediate danger in a domestic violence case. After a request by a law enforcement officer, the order is issued any time through a phone call to the judge.
The order goes into effect once it has been issued by the judge and lasts for seven calendar days or five business days, whichever comes later. The restraining order intends to protect the requester long enough until he or she applies for a domestic restraining order in court.
Everything to do with Emergency Protective Order is described under the California Family Code sections 6250 - 6253. Under this statute, the applicant or requester must meet specific grounds that define that he or she was in immediate danger of domestic violence. A person can consider getting an EPO if the following are true:
- The person is in present or immediate danger of domestic violence based on previous domestic violence allegation and recent incidents of abuse or threat
- The person seeking the order is a child in immediate or present danger of abuse by a family or household member
- The person is in immediate and present danger of abduction by a parent or relative
- The person seeking the restraining order is an elder or dependent adult in immediate and present danger of abuse as defined in Section 15610.07
Apart from the kind of people seeking the emergency protective order, it is meant to prevent an occurrence or recurrence of child abduction, child abuse, domestic violence, or abuse of a dependent adult.
The restraining order is meant to protect a person from abuse as defined under Family Code 6203. Under this statute, abuse is defined as:
- Physically trying to hurt another person either physically or recklessly
- Sexual assault
- Making another person to reasonably be afraid of his or her safety or being seriously hurt
- Engaging in behaviors such as hitting someone, threatening, stalking, harassing, and disturbing the peace of the other person
Please note, physical abuse is not limited to hitting. It can involve other activities such as pulling the hair of a partner, shoving, throwing things, scaring, and keeping him or her from going. It can also include physical harm to a family pet.
You should also note that abuse in domestic violence does not have to be physical. It can also involve verbal, psychological, or emotional harassment.
How the Emergency Protective Order is Implemented
Emergency protective orders can be useful in cases where victims fear for themselves or to their children. The rule allows victims to keep potential or known abusers away from them or from a home that they both reside in. The order can also do the following:
- Prohibit the abuser or offender from trying to contact you in any way unless certain types of communication are expressly allowed
- Prohibits the abuser from seeking or doing further violence to the EPO recipient
- Requires the offender to stay a particular distance away from the victim's house, workplace, or school if the victim is a child
- Prohibits the offender from contacting the alleged victim's children whether or not they have been subjected to violence
- Require the offender to officially relocate to a new place if he or she is sharing a home with the victim
- Take custody of the children involved in the violence for the days that it last
Please note, certain items or standards of an emergency protective order might not be included depending on the specific situation. The judge usually decides on the conditions of the protective order based on the extent or circumstances surrounding the officer's information.
People that are Protected by the Emergency Protective Order
You should learn about the eligibility for an Emergency Protective Order to determine whether you suit best in requesting one. Most people would argue that it is suitable for spouses and children involved in domestic violence, but it covers many more people than you think. Under the Family Code section 6211, parties eligible for EPO should have some relationship with the alleged abuser. The following are the few people that might request an order against an alleged abuser:
- A current or former spouse
- A current or former cohabitant
- A person who the respondent would have been dating or had an engagement in a relationship
- A person who the respondent had a child with
- A child of a party subject to an action
- Any other person related to the perpetrator through an affinity within the second degree
Provision of Emergency Protective Order Under Family Code Section 6252
Family Code section 6252 provides the specific orders provided by the judge. An emergency protective order may have different rules as described below:
- A protective order as defined under Family Code section 6218
- An order providing temporary care and control of a minor child or an endangered person and the restrained person
- An order providing authorization of the welfare and institution Code, including the provision of temporary care or control of an endangered child or a minor whose family, household, parents, or guardian have an order sought for
- An order that determines the temporary care of a minor or child in danger of abduction
Inclusions in the Emergency Protective Order
Once the judge provides an emergency protective order, specific aspects should be included to determine its viability and ensure that it is enforced. The order should include the following:
- A statement that highlights the elements needed to be asserted by the order
- The date and time that the order will last
- The address of the superior court for the county or district which the endangered person or child in danger of abduction resides
- A statement that is printed in English and Spanish
The statement provided in the order should give the following statement:
- To the Person Seeking Protection: The order will only last until the date and time stated above. If you intend to continue the protection, you will have to apply for an order from the court at the address provided above. You can seek advice from an attorney to clarify any matter connected with the application. The attorney should be consulted immediately to help you respond to the application
- To the Restrained Person: The order will only last until the date and time provided. The protected person may seek a permanent restraining order from the court. You are at liberty of seeking the help of an attorney to help you respond to the application
If the person seeking the restraining order is a child, the order's statement will be different from the one provided for a spouse or cohabitant. In this case, the statement will be printed in English and Spanish and will go as follows:
"The order will last only until the date and time provided above. You can apply for a permanent restraining order under the Family Code Section 213.5 of the Welfare and Institution Code from the court address noted above. You can seek advice from an attorney in relation to the application and for a permanent restraining order."
If the child in question is in danger of abduction, the following statement will be printed in English and Spanish.
"This order will last until the date and time provided above. You can apply for a child custody order from the court, using the court address provided above. You are at liberty of seeking advice from an attorney to any matter related to the application to help you respond to the application."
Weight Consequences of an Emergency Protective Order
You should not underestimate the kind of danger that might result from seeking an order, especially if you seek it against a law enforcement officer. There are potential professional consequences such as duty restriction, removal from specialized units, or suspension. Therefore, there is a possibility of incurring fierce resistance from the respective person when attempting to get an order.
Your lawyer may not have a full awareness of the kind of consequences of a protective order. Perhaps the abuser is well known or has influence in the legal system and might end up influencing the outcomes of the order. You might also be denied the order if you do not conform to a traditional feminist's standards or the expectation of a mother. Other aspects might have your request for an Emergency Protective Order rejected. This includes:
- Being considered as a stereotype
- Engagement in a same-sex relationship
- Being an officer
In that case, you must carefully consider the following:
- Whether or not the batterer will opinion of your action to obtain an order is aggressive or hostile
- The kind of action that will result in retaliation of the batterer
- Whether or not the action will make you lose your control in a relationship
- Whether or not your action will provoke a stalking behavior or a serious attempt on your life
- The kind of reaction that the abuser will have to try and pressure you into dropping the order
- Whether or not the local law enforcement will enforce an order placed against a fellow officer
- Whether you will accusation from the court of using the order as leverage in a custody or divorce battle
- The kind of reaction that the abuser will have if the information about the order is made public
As much as it is essential to evaluate the above-stated aspects, you should seek the order if it is for your safety or that of your loved ones. There might be consequences in seeking a restraining order against a police or law enforcement officer. You should not be worried about this since the state has the responsibility of protecting you from any threats that might follow.
Limitations of Emergency Protective Order
Although an emergency protective is essential to a domestic violence victim, there are certain limitations that it has compared to your goal. In that case, the emergency protective order cannot do the following:
- End your domestic partnership or help in your divorce
- Establish the parentage of your child with the person you seek a protective order against unless you agree to the descent of the children in question and allow the court to solve the issue
Violation of a Emergency Protective Order
Violating an Emergency protective order can attract severe consequences as provided by California statutes. It might attract civil or criminal consequences depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.
If you are facing criminal consequences, the prosecutor must prove certain elements when convicting you of violating an Emergency Protective Order. These elements are as follows:
- A valid protective order existed
- The defendant knew that the protective order existed and its terms
- The defendant intentionally violated the terms provided in the order
The consequences for violating the restraining order are as follows:
- Citations of contempt of court
- Criminal charges under PC 273.6. This includes a county jail sentence for a maximum of one year, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both. This applies if you are convicted as a misdemeanor. You might be charged with a wobbler if you are facing a second conviction, or you were involved in the act of violence. The potential felony consequences include custody in state prison for a maximum of three years and a fine of up to $1,000
- Loss of certain rights such as child visitation
Contesting an Emergency Protective Order in Court
You can have the emergency protective order removed or have its terms modified through a petition in the court. If you intend to modify the EPO terms, you can have conditions related to your communication, contact, and a certain distance from the protected person modified.
If you want to change or terminate the order, you should file a request in court before the date provided in the Emergency Protective Order expires. You can do this as the person protected or restrained by the order.
Please note that you might be required to pay a filing fee associated with the motion. You need to confirm with the court early to determine the amount required for the payment. You should also notify the court that you want to be heard and the register should settle on a date that is as soon as possible. Since you have seven calendar or five working days until the order expires, you should file your petition before these days are done.
You might also need appropriate evidence to help the court determine whether to modify or lift the emergency protective order depending on the circumstances of the case. The kind of evidence that the court might consider are:
- Documents such as pay stubs and completion of a rehabilitation program if the order was ordered due to anger management issues
- Statements that are given by other people such as oral testimony and a written affidavit from people who believe that the order was wrongfully done
- Evidence related to child visitation or custody if it suits your case
- Any records from a probation or parole officer if the person's criminal background is the issue
The person subjected to the restraining order should provide proof of good behavior to support the evidence presented to the court. This includes evidence that shows compliance with the existing terms of the order or evidence that proves that the order is not necessary.
If the judge decides to end the Order, you need to fill items 1 and 2 of Form DV-400, make three copies and return them to the court clerk.
If the clerk prepares the form on your behalf, you should carefully review it to ensure that it matches with the orders from the judge. The judge will sign the new order, where the clerk will keep the original copy and give you return copies with a stamp indicating that it has been filed.
Find a Domestic Violence Attorney Near Me
There are many emotional burdens when there is an unfair restraining order placed against you. If that is the case, hiring a domestic violence attorney would be the best decision when trying to remove an Emergency Protective Order placed against you. At Leah Legal, we have successfully and passionately represented clients in courts for domestic violence and restraining orders. We will work tirelessly to create the best defense strategies needed for your case. For more information, contact us at 818-484-1100 for a no-obligation consultation and immediate assistance when you need it most.