Restraining orders involving family or neighbor disputes can be highly emotional. An attorney who knows the law in this area can take the stress out of the situation and help you arrive at a solution that minimizes the damage to your life. Michael Coffino actively represents people both seeking and defending against restraining orders in criminal, civil and family court.
If you have received papers serving you with a temporary restraining order (TRO) or informing you about an upcoming court date, the Law Office of Michael Coffino can help. You have a right to an automatic postponement of the initial hearing so your lawyer can investigate the facts and prepare your defense. In family and civil court, the losing party may be required to pay the other side's court costs and attorney fees.
Likewise, if you are interested in obtaining a restraining order against someone who is harassing you, call us now for a free, no-obligation consultation. We have a history of successful outcomes for clients, whether they are seeking a restraining order or defending against one.
The law that applies to your case depends on the kind of restraining order you are seeking or defending against. In general, it is easier to obtain a restraining order under California's Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA), which broadly defines any familial or dating relationship. These cases are governed by the California Family Code and are typically heard by judges assigned specifically to family law matters.
A judge can issue a restraining order for "abuse" as defined in Family Code section 6203, which includes threatening, causing or attempting to cause bodily harm, molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, falsely impersonating, harassing, making annoying telephone calls, destroying personal property or disturbing the peace of the other party.
A civil harassment restraining (where the parties have no family or dating relationship) is easier to defend against and harder to obtain. These cases are heard by judges in civil court and are governed by Code of Civil Procedure section 527.6. To obtain a restraining order the moving party must show by "clear and convincing evidence" that he suffered objectively reasonable "substantial emotional distress" caused by harassment in the form of "unlawful violence, a credible threat of violence, or a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose."
Restraining orders can also be issued for Elder Abuse under Welfare and Institutions Code section 15657.03, and for Workplace Violence under the Code of Civil Procedure, and for other reasons.
A judge can issue a restraining order that includes your home, automobile, place of work and other locations. Depending on the facts, the order could forbid all contact or allow peaceful communication. Serious consequences can ensue if a judge orders you to be restrained, including arrest and prosecution for violating the order, loss of any firearms, and notice to law enforcement agencies across the state and beyond.
If you or a loved one are seeking or defending against a restraining order you need an attorney who understands how to effectively handle these kinds of cases. For more information and to schedule a free consultation, contact the Law Office of Michael A. Coffino now at (415) 786-9703.