What Is Domestic Violence? Under California Penal Code Section 13700, “domestic violence” means abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship (California Penal Code 13700(b)). “Abuse” means intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to himself or herself, or another (California Penal Code 13700(a),. Domestic violence affects people of all ages, ethnicities, cultures, religions, sexual orientations, educational backgrounds, and income levels.
What do I do if I am a victim of Domestic Violence? Most important is your safety and that of your family. Contact your local law enforcement agency and file a report. Law enforcement will assist in securing your safety which may involve removing the abuser from the home. If he/she is not in custody, they may recommend that you stay with a family member, go to shelter or obtain temporary lodging. We make referrals to Tehama County shelters.
What happens after I call law enforcement? After law enforcement finishes their report, it is submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for charging where the assigned attorney will determine if there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges.
What types of Restraining Orders are available?
There are three types of Orders:
1. Emergency Protective Order (EPO)
An emergency protective order is issued by a judge at the request of a law enforcement officer when circumstances present a possibility of imminent and immediate danger to a victim. These orders are temporary orders issued by the reporting police agency at the scene of the crime. An emergency protective order expires at the earlier of the following times: a) The close of judicial business on the fifth court day following the day of its issuance or (b) The seventh calendar day following the day of its issuance (California Family Code Section 6256).
2. Criminal Protective Order (CPO)
A CPO is issued in a criminal case to protect someone (the “Protected Person”) from a Defendant. The criminal case is initiated by the District Attorney’s Office. A CPO may require the Defendant to stay away from and have no contact with the Protected Person, or it may require that if there is any contact, such contact be peaceful in every way. The expiration date is listed on the CPO. CPOs can only be modified by a judge.
The court is required to consider issuing a protective order in every criminal domestic violence case. Pen C §136.2(e)(1). A court must have jurisdiction over a criminal matter in order to issue the protective order. The order may be issued on a good cause belief that harm to, or intimidation or dissuasion of, a victim or witness has occurred or is reasonably likely to occur. Pen C §136.2(a). An initial CPO is in effect for 3 years or while the case is pending.
For orders under Penal Code sections 273.5(i) and 646.9(k), once the case resolves, the sentencing court shall also consider issuing an order restraining the defendant from any contact with the victim, which may be valid for up to 10 years as determined by the court regardless of whether a defendant goes to jail or state prison.
3. Civil Restraining Order
There are different types of restraining orders issued to protect one or more individuals from another person. These restraining orders are issued in Civil Court as part of a legal action initiated by the person seeking protection. The District Attorney is not involved. These Restraining Orders may include stay-away orders, no contact, or peaceful contact orders and can only be modified by a judge. The following agencies may be able to assess your needs and let you know what options are most appropriate to your situation. These agencies include: Alternatives to Violence (530) 528-0226 and the Self Help Assistance and Referral Program (530) 527-8649.
A restraining order will protect you legally but cannot guarantee your safety. It is important that you have outlined a safety plan.
Links to Online Information
California Courts Domestic Violence and Civil Restraining Order Information
The National Domestic Violence Hotline