If you are the subject of a restraining order, understand that it is a very serious matter that deserves your prompt attention. First, you must understand important rights. If a person asks a court to issue a restraining order against you because of alleged domestic violence or other domestic conflict, you are entitled to be notified of the request, have a court hearing, and defend yourself.

However, in California, a court can enter a temporary restraining order that will last for a few days, without first holding a hearing and outside your presence. However, the judge must conduct a formal hearing before entering a permanent order. These hearings, to which you receive notice, are usually set quickly, so you may have only a week or ten days to make important decisions and prepare for the hearing.

At the hearing, it is critical that you are prepared to defend. You have the right to be represented by an attorney, although in restraining order proceedings, you are not entitled to free counsel or a court-appointed attorney. Thus, it is imperative to contact an attorney the moment you are informed of the hearing.

You also should:

  • Gather any physical evidence relating to any incidents or events the petition refers to, such as clothing, photos, videos, and objects

  • Assemble any documents or records that could relate to the case, such as letters, emails, phone and GPS records, computer records, and records that might show where you were at the time of an incident, and

  • Make a list of possible witnesses—include every person you think has information about the incident, the accusations or the petitioner—and obtain the witnesses’ contact information.

If the accuser has made false accusations about an incident, you might have photos or videos of the event or a witness might be able to testify that you were not even there when the alleged incident took place. If the accuser says you called or texted repeatedly, your phone records might show otherwise. If the accuser states that you have driven by his or her home several times a day, your GPS records may enable you to disprove it. This kind of information is very important to bring to your attorney and the court’s attention.

You should never ignore a restraining order request. Instead, you should get information about your rights and options, consult with a lawyer, and participate in the court process. Once a restraining order is entered, you can be charged with a crime if the protected party accuses you of violating the order. If a permanent order is issued, you will be prohibited from possessing a firearm while the order is in effect, and the order will show up on background checks.

When you retain the Law Office of Brett Parker Davison, we can help you fight against the restraining order that has been placed against you. It is imperative that you take immediate action to defend yourself against such an order because a violation could result in serious penalties. When preparing to tell your side of the story, you should have your lawyer file an answer to the temporary restraining order before the hearing date. You have the right to be defended as this judgment could have lasting affects on your life.