In California, restraining orders require the restrained person to avoid all contact with the protected individual. You can obtain a restraining or protective order if you have suffered harassment or threats from outsiders or individuals with whom you have an intimate or family relationship.

There are different restraining orders, each serving a different purpose. The civil harassment order serves to protect victims of stalking, sexual abuse, or severe harassment like criminal threats. Domestic violence orders are issued for the protection of domestic violence victims.

The process of obtaining civil harassment or domestic violence restraining orders will require you to submit a report to the court and present sufficient evidence that you are in danger. Understanding the differences between these two restraining orders is critical and helps you understand the order you need to seek, given your circumstances. For guidance in filing restraining orders in California, you will require expert legal insight.

The following are some of the differences between civil harassment and domestic violence restraining orders:

Difference in the Reason for Obtaining The Domestic Violence or Civil Harassment Restraining Orders

A CHRO is a court order issued to protect a victim of crimes like stalking, sexual assault, and threats of abuse. Under California Civil Code 527.6(b), harassment is defined as a credible threat of or unlawful violence. If a person acts willfully in a way that makes you fear for your safety or annoys you, you could seek a CHRO against them.

Before the court issues the order for your protection, they must ensure that the conduct in question could cause emotional distress to you and a reasonable person.

A DVRO is a court order designed and issued to protect victims of domestic violence. Under California law, domestic violence is a crime of harm or threat to harm caused by a person with whom you have an intimate or family relationship. Due to the close personal relationship you have with the alleged abuser, the abuse could be either physical or emotional.

In an attempt to reduce the instances of domestic violence in the state, the courts can issue an emergency protective order while you gather evidence and pursue a domestic violence restraining order.

Difference in Crimes that Could Result in the Issuance of Domestic Violence or Civil Harassment Restraining Orders

In most cases, you can seek protection offered by restraining orders when you are a victim of harassment, threats, or a specific crime. You may be eligible to obtain a DVRO if you are a victim of any of the following domestic violence offenses or if there is a substantial threat against you from your domestic partner:

  • Inflicting corporal injury on a spouse. Under California PC 273.5, inflicting corporal injury on a spouse involves inflicting physical harm that could cause a traumatic condition on a domestic partner. If you have physical injuries like bruises, swelling, broken bones, or concussions from abuse, the court can issue a DVRO against the abuser.
  • Domestic battery. A crime of domestic battery or spousal battery involves offensive touching done by an intimate partner. If there is evidence to show that your spouse, cohabitant, or domestic partner touched you offensively, you can request a domestic violence restraining order. In this case, evidence of physical harm may not be necessary.
  • Child abuse. Domestic violence is not only issued to protect adults who have been threatened or harmed by their spouses but can also protect children in abusive situations. Child abuse is a common form of domestic violence that occurs when a person inflicts harm or corporal punishment on a child. California law is strict in protecting minors due to their vulnerability in society. Therefore, if your child has been abused by their other parent or your domestic partner, you can seek an order for their protection.
  • Revenge porn. This crime involves posting sexual videos or images of a domestic partner without their permission and is charged under California PC 647(j)(4). Although this offense does not cause physical harm to a victim, it can result in severe psychological and emotional distress. For this reason, victims of revenge porn can file restraining orders against the perpetrator.
  • Posting harmful material on the internet. California PC 653.2 makes it a crime to post harmful information about another person online. At the same time, the offense is a form of cyber harassment. It counts as domestic violence. You may be eligible for a domestic violence restraining order if your spouse, cohabitant, or domestic partner commits this crime against you.

On the other hand, civil harassment restraining orders are issued to victims of the following crimes:

  • Stalking. You are a victim of stalking if another person follows or harasses you to the point where you fear for your safety. If there is evidence that you are being stalked, the court can issue a civil harassment restraining order for your protection.
  • Criminal threats. Under California law, a criminal threat is an offense when a person makes statements that make you fear for your safety or that of your family. You may be a victim of criminal threats even when no harm is caused to you. You may be a victim of criminal threats under PC 422 even if you did not suffer physical harm. In this case, the court can issue a CHRO to keep the person who issued the threats away from you.
  • Sexual assault. Sexual assault involves inappropriately touching another person’s private parts without their consent.

The difference in Individuals Against Whom the CHRO  or DVRO is Issued

The most significant difference between a CHRO and a DVRO is the relationship between the protected party and the individual against whom that order is issued. The court will issue a CHRO if you need protection from any of the following individuals:

  • Neighbor.
  • Coworker.
  • Acquaintances.
  • Distantly related family members like uncles, aunts, and cousins.

The civil harassment restraining order prevents the restrained person from engaging in the following conduct:

  • Contacting you or your family members.
  • Coming to your workplace.
  • Going near your children or individuals living in your home.
  • Owning or carrying a firearm.

On the other hand, a DVRO is issued against individuals who threaten the safety of their domestic partners or spouses. Since domestic violence involves abuse from a loved one, the following individuals would be served with restraining orders for posing a threat against you:

  • Domestic partner.
  • Spouse.
  • Someone with you has a dating relationship.
  • A close family member, including in-laws.
  • Someone with you has a child.
  • A cohabitant.

The restrained person is expected to abide by the following rules after they are served with the domestic violence restraining order:

  • Avoid inflicting physical abuse.
  • Avoid contact, including physical or electronic communication.
  • Avoid contacting your family members.
  • Keep a set distance from you.

A Domestic Violence Restraining Order Can Last Longer Than a Civil Harassment Order

Most domestic violence situations call for an emergency response to protect the victim. Therefore, if you are in immediate danger of harm from a domestic partner or spouse, you can obtain an emergency protective order, which can keep the abuser away for up to several days. You will then be able to obtain the temporary restraining order as soon as your hearing is scheduled.

During the hearing, you must present evidence showing you are in danger. If the judge finds it necessary, the abuser will be served with a permanent restraining order. Due to the seriousness of domestic violence crimes and the preexisting relationship between the abuser and the victim, the DVRO can be renewed for five years for extended protection of the victim.

You can request the court extend the restraining order up to three months before its expiration. This is done by filing Form DV-700 online or submitting it to the court. To renew the domestic violence restraining order, you must prove that the threats to your safety still exist or that there is a likelihood of suffering continued abuse when the order expires.

A CHRO has a shorter duration limit than a DVRO. A judge can grant you an emergency protective order as you work to obtain the permanent restraining order. However, you must present clear evidence that shows a risk of harm or harassment.

The order will be shorter since the CHRO is issued against individuals not closely related to the protected person.

Violating a CHRO is a Misdemeanor, While Violating a DVRO is a Wobbler

Violating a court-issued restraining order could result in an arrest and criminal charges under California law. However, violations of different orders are charged differently. If you violate a CHRO, you will face a misdemeanor charge, resulting in a jail sentence of one year.

Violating a DVRO is a wobbler, which can attract felony or misdemeanor charges, depending on the case circumstances.

There are additional Provisions in a DHRO which Do Not Apply to a CHRO

The rules and conditions of a CHRO revolve around preventing contact between the civil harassment victim and the restrained person. However, with a domestic violence restraining order, there are additional provisions that the restrained person must abide by to avoid arrest and charges for violating a protective order.

Some of the standard provisions that accompany a domestic violence restraining order include:

Surrender the firearms. Under California law, individuals over eighteen without a felony conviction on their record can purchase and own firearms. You must surrender all your firearms to the police until the order expires if the court issues a DVRO against you.

  • Pay child support. California law is always strict to protect minors. Therefore, the person who commits domestic violence may be deemed unfit to care for the children. If you obtain a DVRO against your spouse, they will be legally obligated to pay child support while the order stands.
  • Payment of alimony. Alimony, or spousal support, is paid to one spouse after a divorce to help them maintain a lifestyle similar to the one they enjoyed during the marriage. Divorce and separation could bring out the worst in people. For this reason, domestic violence cases are common during a divorce. A restrained person could be ordered to continue paying alimony even when their contact with the protected person is prohibited.
  • Completion of a batterers program. A judge will issue a domestic violence restraining order against a person when there is sufficient evidence to prove that the person committed a crime of domestic violence against their cohabitant, spouse, or domestic partner. One of the provisions of the DVRO is a requirement for the restrained person to attend a batterers program, which runs for up to 52 weeks.
  • Avoid making changes to insurance policies. DVROs are issued against individuals who harass, threaten, or abuse their intimate partners. Usually, these individuals will have joint accounts and share insurance policies. If the protected person is a beneficiary of your insurance policy, you cannot change the policy after being served with the protective order.

Find a Competent Restraining Order Attorney Near Me

Domestic violence and civil harassment restraining orders are the two most common forms of restraining orders issued in California. These court orders are obtained by individuals who can prove that they have suffered threats, stalking, harassment, or domestic violence.

Abuse takes different forms, and your relationship with the alleged abuser plays a significant role in determining the kind of order you need. Civil and domestic violence restraining orders differ in several ways, including why they are obtained, the individuals against whom they are issued, and the procedure for obtaining them.

If you need the protection offered by restraining orders, you will require the guidance of a skilled attorney to obtain civil harassment or domestic violence restraining orders. A knowledgeable attorney will help you follow the proper procedures and present sufficient evidence to the judge to warrant the restraining order.

At Foos Gavin Law Firm, we offer top-notch legal insight for clients seeking restraining orders in Sacramento, CA. Contact us at 916-779-3500 today for much-needed guidance.