Individuals do not need to tolerate emotional distress, fear or abuse caused by the harassing behavior of a neighbor, associate or other person with whom they have not shared a romantic, dating, parenting or family relationship. California law permits those who are being exposed to stalking, following, harassing phone calls and similar types of conduct that cause emotional distress to seek protective orders. A Civil Harassment Restraining Order (CHO) does not require a special relationship between the parties like a Domestic Violence Restraining order so it is often used when the party engaging in inappropriate conduct is an acquaintance, neighbor, stranger or co-worker.
Bay Area Restraining Order Attorney, Lucy S. McAllister J.D., represents clients seeking a civil harassment restraining order to prohibit a harassing patterns of conduct as well as defending those facing unfounded allegations who might have future employment opportunities and/or their reputation damaged by the imposition of such a restraining order. Ms. McAllister has more than three decades of experience representing clients requesting and opposing restraining orders of all types as well as clients accused of violating restraining orders in both civil and criminal courts throughout the Bay Area. Ms. McAllister’s extensive experience includes more than two hundred fifty trials in California Superior Courts.
What Is Required to Obtain a Civil Harassment Restraining Order (CHO)
A Bay Area court may impose a Civil Harassment Restraining Orders against a party that engages in any of the following under Code of Civil Procedure Section 527.6:
- Violence that is not lawful
- Credible threats of violence
- Any knowing or willful pattern of conduct causing serious alarm, harassment or harm that is not justified by some legitimate purpose
While there is no requirement that an annoying neighbor or co-worker that is stalking you threaten you or engage in violent acts, the conduct must be upsetting enough that it would cause significant emotional distress to a reasonable person. The person seeking protection also must show that the behavior caused him or her substantial emotional distress.
The CHO will not be effective until it is served on the party who is subject to the Civil Harassment Restraining Orders and Injunction. We also ensure that the harassment order is received by appropriate law enforcement agencies and included in the California Law Enforcement Telecommunication System. This means that the restraining order will be available to law enforcement if they must respond to an incident when the other party violates the order.
Understanding the Process of Seeking Civil Harassment Restraining Orders in the San Francisco and San Jose Courts
San Francisco Lawyer, Lucy S. McAllister, recognizes that time is of the essence when filing for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). A TRO can be granted on an ex parte basis which means that the protective order may be provided without notice depending on the specific facts of your case. As a practical matter, an ex parte restraining order often can be obtained the same day or by the next court day. If you are concerned about your safety in the interim, you may contact the police and request an Emergency Protective Order which is good for 5-7 days.
Because Lucy S. McAllister understands the factual basis the judge needs to justify a TRO, the request for this type of emergency protective order will usually be granted if we have determined that sufficient evidence exists to file an application. The court also will schedule a hearing about three weeks but not more than 25 days later to decide whether the evidence supports imposing a “permanent” injunction which is good for three years but may be renewed prior to expiration.
Protective Orders the Judge May Impose to Protect a Harassment or Abuse Victim
A CHO prohibits the person who engaged in the pattern of harassing or violent threats and/or actions from initiating any form of contact or coming within a certain distance of the party protected by the restraining order. This includes not only prohibiting the harasser from coming within a minimum distance from you personally but may also extend to your home, place of employment, family members and school. The party who is subject to the restrictions imposed by the Civil Harassment Restraining Order also will not be permitted to own, purchase or possess a firearm while the injunction/restraining order is in place.
Bay Area Civil Restraining Order Defense
If you are served with a TRO, you may have no interest in contacting or approaching the protected party, but it is still a bad idea to ignore the court hearing. A person who is subject to a permanent restraining order may face a variety of problems. If the party petitioning for a California Civil Harassment Restraining Order prevails, the order will be entered into the California Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (CLETS). This means that anytime you have contact with law enforcement or someone runs a background check, they will likely become aware that you have had a restraining order imposed. This blemish on your reputation can be damaging when applying for jobs, seeking professional licenses, applying for rental housing and even pursuing future relationships.
While conduct that constitute harassment or violence against another cannot be condoned, sometimes people seek restraining order for improper purposes, such as retribution for a perceived wrong. In other cases, conduct like picketing a business that has provided poor service may be protected First Amendment activity. The bottom line is that Ms. McAllister understands how to construct an effective defense and challenge the adequacy and reliability of evidence when opposing restraining order requests. She is diligent and aggressive in protecting her clients’ reputations.
Whether you are the party seeking or opposing a restraining order in any of the Bay Area Counties including: Santa Clara County, Alameda County, San Mateo County, Contra Costa County or San Francisco County, Bay Area Civil Restraining Order Lawyer Lucy S. McAllister has the experience and commitment to protect your safety or reputation.
We offer a confidential consultation in our conveniently located San Francisco and San Jose offices so that we can explain your options, rights and the court process.