What to Expect at a Restraining Order Hearing


Young woman standing outside after a restraining order hearing

You feel that your safety is at risk due to the behavior of another individual. What now? How do you keep this person from continuing to harass, abuse, stalk, or threaten you? In this situation, it is within your rights to pursue a restraining order.

Alternatively, perhaps you have just been notified that someone has filed a restraining order against you, and you feel nervous about how this may impact you or your relationship with your family or friends. What should be your next step?

In either situation, you can expect to attend a restraining order hearing in the near future. The question is, what happens in a restraining order hearing? I, attorney Michael C. MacNeil, can help you to understand the restraining order process and represent you at your upcoming restraining order hearing in San Diego.

The Restraining Order Filing Process

If an individual is constantly harassing you, it is critical that you get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can complete the forms required for you to obtain a restraining order from a California court.

On the forms, you have to describe exactly why you are seeking protection from someone else. After the forms are filed with the court, a judge will review the forms, then decide if issuing a temporary restraining order is in order. If so, you can expect this order to last for a total of 21 days.

Next, the California court will make a decision on whether to make this order permanent at a hearing, where they will review evidence concerning the matter. Your attorney can explain to you what happens in a restraining order hearing to help you to feel prepared for the hearing.

Note that before the hearing, though, the recipient of the order has to be notified of it through a process server. In addition, proof of the service has to be filed.

What to Do if You Are the Recipient

Perhaps you’ve been notified that someone has filed a restraining order against you. At this point, the person requesting it has already pursued and obtained a temporary order.

Based on the temporary order, you cannot legally go near the school, work, or home of the individual who is protected by the order. In addition, you can no longer contact the protected individual. This means not sending emails, letters, or texts, and it also means not making phone calls. The order will also prohibit you from purchasing, owning, or possessing a firearm or gun as long as the temporary order exists.

At this stage, you have the right to respond to the order, explaining your defenses. Then, you can attend a final hearing. As your attorney, I will explain to you what happens in a restraining order hearing and then take steps to vigorously defend you against the allegations outlined in the temporary order that the other person has filed against you. This will allow you to have a say in the final decision of whether a permanent order will be issued.

What Happens in a Restraining Order Hearing?

During the hearing, a judge will listen to both your and the other party’s testimony, as well as the testimony of any possible witnesses. Then, the judge will do one of four things.

  • The judge will grant the requested order.
  • The judge will grant certain requested protections but not others.
  • The judge will completely deny issuing an order.
  • The judge will postpone the matter if more time is necessary to gather information.

If you are the recipient of an order and refuse to go to the hearing, you won’t have any input in this case. As a result, a permanent order lasting between one and five years may end up being issued.

Meanwhile, if you filed the temporary order but don’t show up at the hearing, then the court will terminate your temporary order that day.

The Link Between a Restraining Order and an Eviction

Let’s say that you’re a landlord who believes that a tenant is threatening your safety. You may ask that the court issue what’s called a harassment restraining order. In this case, the tenant may have to avoid going near you or quit calling you. If he or she resides in your property, this person might have to vacate it immediately. Thus, even if you have already begun the tenant eviction process, a restraining order can help you to secure protection much more quickly.

Now let’s say that you, a tenant, believe that your landlord has been attempting to evict your loved ones and you unjustly, for example. You could request that the court temporarily suspend this process by issuing a temporary restraining order. Then, the hearing process would ensue. Again, I can walk you through what happens in a restraining order hearing in this situation.

Seek Legal Help with Restraining Orders in California Today

Are you ready to file a restraining order but have questions about what happens in a restraining order hearing? Or, are you the recipient of such an order? Either way, you can receive the representation you need from The Law Office of Michael C. MacNeil. I will fight vigorously for your rights and make sure that they are not violated during any stage of the hearing process.

Contact me today to find out more about what happens in a restraining order hearing and how I can protect your best interests when dealing with this difficult situation in California.

About Michael MacNeil

Michael C. MacNeil is a San Diego Family Law and Criminal Defense attorney. With a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, MacNeil has a solid understanding of our justice system. As a member of the State Bar of California, MacNeal can practice before all courts in the state. MacNeil believes that the law should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial status. With over 20 years of experience, Michael C. MacNeil is passionate about the law and will work tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for you. Call Mr. MacNeil at 858-922-7098.