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How Long Can a Restraining Order Remain in Effect?

Posted by Christopher Martens | May 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

Restraining Order Duration Periods

Restraining orders are commonly issued in cases involving crimes such as assault, harassment, and domestic violence.  They can also be issued in certain family law matters. A judge can issue one of a few types of restraining orders, each of which may remain in effect for different periods of time. Understanding how long your restraining order will remain in effect is crucial. You can face serious consequences for violating a restraining order, and you could be subject to the order for several years. If you have any questions about a restraining order, you should always talk to an attorney, but here is some general information on common types of restraining orders and how long they remain in effect.

Different Orders for Different Purposes

As stated above, not all restraining orders are created equal. Some are short-term, while others are long-term. Each has a different purpose.

Emergency Restraining Orders

Certain restraining orders can be issued temporarily under emergency circumstances. These are called emergency protective orders and are reserved for matters that cannot wait to be heard on the court's regular calendar. Typically, a victim can obtain an emergency protective order by calling the police. The police will then contact an on-call judge who is available to issue emergency protective orders at any time. The police will only do this if they believe the victim is in immediate danger of being harmed. In many cases, the order can go into effect immediately, and you will not be given a chance to defend yourself in court before the order becomes valid. The good news is these orders are only short-term and remain in effect for just a few days and no longer than a calendar week.


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In less urgent scenarios, the victim can go to the court to request a temporary ex-parte restraining order. This type of order will remain in effect long enough to give the victim time to go to the court to ask for a restraining order that will be valid longer. Once he or she appears court, the victim can ask the judge for a domestic violence restraining order. You will be summoned to court and have a chance to defend yourself. Then, the judge will decide whether or not to issue a restraining order and decide how long it will be valid.

Permanent Restraining Orders

A restraining order obtained after a hearing (different from an ex-parte order) will typically remain in effect for three to five years. The duration should be indicated in the order. If there is no termination date on the order, it is valid for three years.  Restraining orders can be modified or terminated early, however, under certain circumstances. They can also be extended if they are violated.

While you are subject to a restraining order, you must obey it carefully. Three to five years is a long time to be subject to the numerous restrictions and requirements a restraining order can impose, such as relinquishing your firearms, moving out of your house, paying child support and certain bills, and staying away from the victim. For this reason, it's crucial you respond to the request for a restraining order and attend the restraining order hearing to defend yourself. If you don't go to the hearing, the judge can issue a restraining order without hearing your side of the story. You should respond by filing an answer before you appear in court. You should have an attorney help you with your response.

Restraining orders are far-reaching. Violating a restraining order is a crime and is punishable by jail time and fines. Thus, you should always be very careful when subject to a restraining order, and this includes being aware of how long the order is valid. If you are subject to a restraining order and have questions, speak with an experienced California criminal defense attorney. Likewise, talk with an attorney right away if you have been summoned to a restraining order hearing. You need to file your response before your hearing date, and this response should be carefully crafted. You will need the help of a skilled attorney to file a timely response and prepare for the hearing.

Do you have questions about How Long Can a Restraining Order Remain in Effect? Visalia and Bakersfield area criminal defense attorneys at Martens & Brusseau can assist you with criminal charges. With years of criminal defense experience, our firm has handled thousands of cases.  Attorneys here have the skills and knowledge needed to defend your rights. Serving the Visalia, Fresno, and Bakersfield areas, Martens & Brusseau can provide expert criminal defense counsel. CONTACT US AT 559-302-9722 OR 661-466-2142 TODAY

About the Author

Christopher Martens

Bio Visalia and Bakersfield criminal defense attorney who has dedicated his life to helping those who have been accused of crimes or injured due to the negligence of others.


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