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Does the Time Since the Last Attack Matter When Filing a Restraining Order?

When an individual is considering requesting a restraining order, regardless of the cause, they are usually asked about the time of the last attack. This, of course, suggests its importance to the case. Sometimes, however, the last attack happened years ago, making the victim doubt that it is  possible to actually obtain the order. Does the time since the last attack actually matter here in California?

What Exactly is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order is a legal restriction on freedom of movement with respect to the victim or their family. These serve to protect victims of crimes against their life, moral or physical integrity, sexual freedom, or their safety in general.

These orders prevent the aggressor from near the victim. This also applies to their family (if necessary), places of residence and work, and even the public places that they may frequent. In the event that the aggressor is living with the victim, the restraining order will also prevent this from continuing. The defendant will not be able to return to that shared home.

Restraining orders not only cover physical contact, but also written, verbal, or visual communication between the aggressor and the victim. When there are children in common with the aggressor, the restraining orders also imply a suspension of contact with the children. The goal of a restraining order is to keep the abuser as far away from the victim as possible.

Does the Time Since the Last Attack Matter?

In any case, the answer is "no." This is due to several reasons. First, the Domestic Violence Protection Act has a broad definition of “abuse.” This means that an act of abuse can include many actions outside of physical abuse. Even pet or property violence, harassment, emotional violence, and intimidation can be grounds for requesting a restraining order. So, if there has not been direct physical abuse in a long time, it is still possible to request a restraining order.

On the other hand, It has been established in the Family Code that “the time elapsed since the last violent attack is not in itself a determining factor.” Therefore, it is required for all circumstances to be considered in order to make the decision to issue the restraining order.

How to Get a Restraining Order

Filing a restraining order in front of a court may sound like an intimidating process, where you will need to present loads of evidence and spend a lot of money to do it successfully. However, this is far from the case. With the right help, it can be a simple process, and it will help you regain your personal peace and security.

The first thing you should do to get a restraining order is to consult with a lawyer who knows how to handle these sensitive family law matters. We will help you prepare a temporary order and present it in court. A judge will then decide, after analyzing the whole situation, if it is necessary to grant a permanent court order. It is important that you begin to collect all the evidence that you can to prove your case, in addition to witnesses who speak to your support.

In criminal cases, the judge will determine whether a restraining order will be issued for harassment, or for any other crime, during the judicial process. It may be during the start of the process, however. In this case, the order will be established as a precautionary measure to protect the victim from a criminal attack if they sense that there may be a real risk of it. These usually last until the issuance of the final sentence.

Conversely, they can also be issued at the end of the process. In this scenario, the order will appear next to the sentence. It can last between one month and 10 years, depending on the seriousness of the crime committed.

Are You in Need of a Restraining Order?

If you are considering requesting a restraining order, then it is important to act as quickly as possible, as your life may be in danger. Also, remember that your case will have the same weight, no matter if the attack occurred a day or a year ago. To learn more about your rights and how to get a restraining order against someone, please contact us today. Our team of family law attorneys here at SAC Attorneys LLP understands how stressful this process can be, and we are ready to help you.

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