Author: Mariya Melkonyan | Published: November 8, 2023 | Category: California

Under California’s Code of Civil Procedure, restraining orders protect people against harassment, abuse, stalking, or violent threats.

To obtain a restraining order, the person filing it must have firm evidence and testimonies to prove the need for legal protection from the court system.

Here, we’ll go over what happens at a restraining order hearing in California, the types of restraining orders, the levels of protection they offer, and more.

If you or a loved one received a restraining order, Mariya Melkonyan and her team of defense attorneys can help you prepare for the restraining order hearing. Schedule a free case review with Mariya today.

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What Is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order, also known as a personal protection order, is a temporary court order that prohibits an individual from carrying out a particular action — most commonly, approaching or contacting a specified person.

A restraining order aims to safeguard the “protected person” from physical harm, sexual abuse, harassment, and stalking carried out by the “restrained person.”

Levels of Protection Restraining Orders Provide

Restraining orders offer three levels of protection:

  1. Personal conduct orders aim to limit actions against the “protected person,” such as physical harm, sexual assault, property damage, and communication.
  2. Stay-away orders mandate the “restrained person” to stay away from the home, workplace, other frequented areas, and vehicle of the “protected person.”
  3. Residence exclusions order the “restrained person” to leave the home of the “protected person” with only their clothes and personal items until the restraining order court hearing.

Types of Restraining Orders in California

California’s law recognizes four types of restraining orders:

1. Domestic Violence

A domestic violence restraining order protects a person from domestic abuse from someone they have an intimate relationship with, such as a spouse, domestic partner, relative, or in-law.

2. Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse

People over 65 can file a restraining order for elder abuse if they are:

  • Physically neglected
  • Financially neglected
  • Deprived of basic needs
  • Deprived of basic services

In addition, people with certain physical or mental disabilities aged 18 to 64 can get a dependent adult abuse restraining order under the circumstances listed above.

3. Civil Harassment

Civil harassment restraining orders protect victims from people they aren’t in an intimate relationship with, such as a distant relative or neighbor.

4. Workplace Violence

An employer can request a workplace violence restraining order if a worker is stalked, harassed, or violently threatened while on company premises.

How to File a Restraining Order in California

In California, you can file a restraining order by going to a court and filling out the required paperwork.

You must detail the situation and how it threatens your life. To avoid mistakes and ensure the paperwork is filled out correctly, hire an attorney who can do this for you.

Once you file the paperwork, a judge will review it and determine whether to grant you a temporary restraining order (TRO).

A TRO is valid for 21 days — during this time, the court reviews the evidence and decides if the TRO should become a permanent restraining order.

The “restrained person” receives a notice of hearing from a process server; proof of service is required to show the court sent the notice.

What Happens at a Restraining Order Hearing in California?

Once a restraining order request is filed, the judge holds an immediate hearing for the petitioner to review the paperwork.

After that initial hearing, the judge decides whether to issue a temporary restraining order and sets a date for the full hearing. Each party presents their case at the full hearing.

1. What Happens at a Temporary Restraining Order Hearing in California?

In California, restraining order cases begin with an ex parte hearing, where the judge listens to what the petitioner has to say. This type of hearing is called “ex parte” because only the petitioner can present their side‌.

After this hearing, the judge decides whether to mandate a temporary restraining order until the final restraining order hearing takes place.

2. What Happens at a Final Restraining Order Hearing in California?

At a restraining order court hearing, the judge oversees the courtroom along with other court staff members, such as the court reporter, deputy sheriff, and court clerk.

The court reporter keeps a record of the proceedings, and the court clerk manages documents, evidence, and witness oaths.

Both parties and their attorneys may be present in the courtroom, as well as witnesses or experts called for the hearing.

The petitioner’s lawyer can present evidence and call witnesses to prove that a restraining order is unjustified.

The “protected person” and their attorney can present evidence in support of the restraining order and ask for additional conditions.

Their attorney will push for the restraining order to go into effect with the harshest possible conditions — even if the facts don’t fully justify it. It’s best to have a seasoned attorney present the circumstances of your case so nothing is overlooked.

Consulting with an attorney gives you the best chance of getting a fair and favorable outcome on your restraining order court hearing.

Maryia Melkonian and her team of defense attorneys have decades of combined experience and will fight to get the best possible result for you. Contact her today to discuss your case.

After hearing from both parties, the judge decides whether to give the “protected person” a permanent restraining order.

How to Win a Restraining Order Court Hearing

Restraining orders prohibit contact with the “protected person.”

Depending on your relationship with them, a restraining order can significantly impact your ability to go about your daily routine, see family and friends, or even go to work.

In addition, a residence exclusion can prevent you from living in your own home.

An experienced defense attorney gives you the best chance of winning a restraining order court hearing. To schedule a free case review with Mariya Melkonyan, email her at or call (424) 901-3131.

Let’s go over the general process Mariya and her team follow to win a restraining order court hearing.

1. Properly Organize the Evidence

Seasoned lawyers expertly organize evidence such as photos and text messages between you and the “protected person” to support your story.

Our team routinely uses this type of evidence to challenge the restraining order at the hearing.

2. Prepare for the Restraining Order Hearing

As a former prosecutor, Mariya Melkonyan can request your testimony from the full hearing if you have criminal charges resulting from the TRO.

In addition, our team can help you prepare your testimony and avoid self-incrimination. Being well-prepared for the hearing and knowing how to present your testimony can prevent the restraining order from becoming permanent.

3. Present Your Case at the Hearing

Our team of knowledgeable defense attorneys can help you defend against your restraining order in court.

We will establish that your actions were unintentional and argue they don’t warrant a restraining order.

4. Gather Third-Party Witnesses

A third-party witness can be someone who was present at the time of the incident that resulted in the restraining order filing. It could be a neighbor, coworker, or distant family member, for example.

If there are multiple witnesses, our team will interview them separately and ask them to testify at the hearing.

What Happens After the Restraining Order Hearing?

If the judge agrees with the defendant’s attorney, the TRO expires and doesn’t become a permanent restraining order.

However, if the court determines a restraining order is necessary, the judge will issue one. Restraining orders can be valid for up to five years.

FAQs About Restraining Order Court Hearings

Can You Cancel a Restraining Order Before the Hearing?

If the “protected person” wants to cancel a restraining order before the hearing, they need to fill out a Waiver of Hearing on Denied Request for Temporary Restraining Order form. They should submit this form to the court as soon as possible (an attorney can take care of this).

If the hearing is canceled, the “protected person” isn’t required to share the court forms and documents with the “restrained person.”

What Happens if the Defendant Doesn’t Show Up to the Restraining Order Hearing?

If the defendant doesn’t show up at the court hearing, they won’t have a say in the case — the judge can simply decide on the restraining order. The judge can also issue orders related to child support and other matters without hearing from the defendant.

Prepare a Solid Restraining Order Hearing Strategy with an Expert Attorney

Restraining order cases can have serious consequences, including being prohibited from seeing your children and limiting your job opportunities.

An expert attorney can help you put together a solid defense strategy and prepare for the court hearing.

Los angeles criminal defense lawyer Marya Melkonyan's image and contact information in the image

Criminal Defense Attorney Mariya Melkonyan

With 13 years of experience as a former Deputy District Attorney and a dedicated team of attorneys behind her, Mariya Melkonyan will fight to get the best possible outcome on your restraining order hearing. Schedule a no-obligation case review today.

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