San Diego TRO Defense Attorneys
What Is A TRO?
A TRO (Temporary Restraining Order), is an order from the court requiring that a person keep away from another person. This "keep away" restriction often includes both physical proximity (usually 100 yards) and communication through the phone, mail, or electronic means. Failure to abide by these restrictions can result in criminal charges, jail time, fines, or all three. A TRO may be issued by a police officer, or it may be requested by an individual directly.
How Is A TRO Issued:
If a TRO is issued by a police officer, you'll generally get handed paperwork while the officers are on the scene. If a TRO is requested by an individual, they (or their attorney) will fill out a DV-100, and perhaps some additional forms, and have an ex parte hearing with a judge. Ex parte means that they are the only party before the judge - you may have a TRO issued against you without ever being aware of it. These TROs are of short duration - generally about two weeks. After the judge approves the TRO, someone will formally serve you with paperwork, informing you of when you must attend a hearing. This hearing is your one (and frequently only) chance to defend yourself. If the judge finds that the TRO was properly issued, it will be converted into a Protective Order.
How Is A Protective Order Different From A TRO?
A Protective Order will have the same restrictions as the TRO did, but it may last for months or even years. However, a Protective Order can include additional restrictions and forfeitures. You may be required to give up custody of an animal under your control, or keep away from other members of the protected person's household. You may be required to relinquish control of your vehicle to the protected party, and you may be forbidden from accessing shared bank accounts. You might be ordered to move out of your home, to relinquish custody of your children, or to obey other restrictions the court deems warranted. People with Protective Orders issued against them cannot own firearms, so you will be required to sell your firearms to a registered gun store, or to turn it/them over to the police. Additionally, if the individual who requested the TRO is granted their Protective Order, the judge can order you to pay their legal fees if they retained an attorney.
Additionally, if the person seeking the protective order is your spouse or parent to your child, a permanent Protective Order will negatively affect future Divorce or Child Custody hearings. You will have to overcome a presumption that your children should not live with you. Failure to do so will grant your spouse (or the other parent) full, or nearly full, custody of your children, and will increase any Child Support payments you will owe.
What Defenses Do I Have To A Protective Order?
A TRO is frequently issued where there are claims of Domestic Violence, but it can also be issued under Family Code §6320 for harassing, falsely impersonating, stalking, or otherwise disturbing the peace of another.
Although civil protective orders are granted more freely than criminal convictions, the party seeking to be protected still must show that you likely committed these acts. They are allowed to bring in witnesses, evidence showing your guilt, and to ask you questions about your defense. Courts tend to grant Protective Orders liberally, so an attorney for the person seeking protection often has a very easy job of winning a protective order.
The best defense to a Protective Order, of course, is showing that you did not do any of these things. Unfortunately, even if you are innocent, a poorly explained defense might result in the judge finding against you. This hearing is often your only chance to marshal evidence showing that you are innocent, to bring in witnesses to testify in your defense, and to ask questions of the person seeking the protective order.
DV-120, the form pictured in the picture at the top of the page, is the response form used to reply to the request for a Protective Order. In addition to this form, your attorney will likely prepare a Declaration explaining your side of the story, Witness Statements from people who can help to show that you are innocent, a list of questions to ask the person requesting the Protective Order, and additional evidence that can help to show that you are not guilty. The best evidence, and the method to best present that evidence, are unique in each case.
If a judge finds that there is insufficient evidence to issue the Protective Order, the TRO will expire and you will not have a permanent restraining order issued against you.
How Can Beach & Niman Help Me?
As experienced TRO defense attorneys, we can prepare the best defense possible for you. We offer a free consultation, so you can ask us any questions you have about our plan to defend you. Often, we will schedule a follow-up meeting (either in person or on the phone) and listen to your full story. We will identify evidence that can best be used to defend you, and contact witnesses that can help your case so that they can either testify during your hearing or offer a written declaration. We will create targeted questions to ask the person requesting the Protective Order, and marshal evidence to confront them with proving your innocence.
Although no attorney can promise that you will win, we will make the best possible case for you. Even where a judge finds that the evidence against you is sufficient to make a permanent restraining order, our defense can help shorten the amount of time the Protective Order lasts. Most importantly, we will be available throughout the process or answer any questions you have and to advocate on your behalf.
Please call us at 760-472-3193, email us, or use the form on the right to talk with us and let us get started on your TRO Defense right away.