Domestic Violence and the Application for Domestic Violence Restraining Orders


The Department of Justice reports that there are over 2.5 million reported acts of domestic violence every year, which result in over 4000 deaths. Needless to say, these statistics are concerning. Domestic violence has no boundaries; it reaches every race, religion and Scio-economic class.

California Probate Code section 13700 defines Domestic Violence as follows: Abuse committed against an adult or fully emancipated minor who is the spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, or former cohabitant, who has a dating relationship, former dating relationship, engagement relationship, former engagement relationship, or parties having a child in common.

Domestic Violence can be physical violence, a verbal threat of physical violence or a pattern of harassing behavior. The psychology behind domestic violence is beyond the scope of this blog. However and generally stated, domestic violence most often involves several phases consisting of the Tension Building Phase, the Domestic Violence Phase (either physical, emotional, or sexual), the Making-Up Phase, and the Calm Phase.

When domestic violence includes physical abuse, this act is punishable as a felony crime under 273.5 of the California Penal Code. Additionally, other crimes often occur in a domestic setting. A few examples include: 243(e)(1) PC Battery; 422 PC Terrorist Threats (threats to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury, 646.9 PC Stalking, and 591 PC Malicious Destruction of Phone Lines.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

A domestic violence restraining order is a court order that helps protect people from abuse or threats of abuse from someone with whom they have a relationship with as defined under California PC section 13700 (discussed above). What follows is an overview of the more common restraining orders.

Emergency Protective Order (EPO)
An EPO is a type of restraining order that only law enforcement can issue, either while at the scene of a domestic violence restraining order, or at the front desk of a law enforcement agency. The EPO is effective immediately, provided they police officers are able to serve the party to be restrained. The EPO can last up to seven days. This will allow the victim enough time to apply to the court for a temporary restraining order.

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
A TRO is issued by a judicial officer and generally lasts up to 25 days. The TRO terminates at a hearing date, whereupon the court will determine if there are sufficient facts to turn the TRO into a Permanent Restraining Order. The TRO hearing is akin to a mini trial where both parties present their evidence and ask the court for a ruling. If the court believes that the moving party is in danger of harassing behavior or harm, the court will grant the request.

Permanent Restraining Order
If the court grants the TRO, a permanent restraining order is issued, which will last for three years. At the termination of the three year period, the moving party can request that the Restraining Order be renewed, which will require another hearing and ruling by the court before it can be granted.

Our office is located in Santa Clarita, serving communities in Saugus, Canyon Country, Valencia, Newhall, and more. If you have any questions regarding divorce, spousal support, child support, or questions regarding domestic violence or obtaining a domestic violence restraining order, please call Eric Martinelli with the Martinelli Law Group for a free consultation.