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There are a variety of restraining orders that can protect victims of crime, including Domestic Violence victims.

  • Emergency Protective Order (EPO): is a short-term restraining order that is only offered by law enforcement at the time a crime is reported to provide immediate protection to a victim of abuse or violence. It is designed to offer immediate relief and safeguard the individual until a more formal and long-term protective order can be obtained. An EPO typically remains in effect for a limited period, usually 5-7 days. If the protected person needs protection for longer or wants to ask for other orders, they can apply for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, which is described below.

  • Criminal Protective Order (CPO):  is a court order to protect a victim or a witness of a crime from further harm or harassment by the defendant (the person accused of the crime). It is a type of restraining order issued in a criminal case. The purpose of a CPO is to prevent any contact or communication between the defendant and the victim or witness. This may include direct or indirect contact, such as in-person meetings, phone calls, text messages, emails, or social media interactions. The order aims to ensure the safety of the protected person and may be issued during a criminal proceeding or after a conviction. A CPO is in effect during a pending criminal case until further court order. A CPO after a conviction may be valid up to 10 years. Violating the terms of a protective order can result in serious consequences for the defendant, including potential additional criminal charges and penalties.

  • Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO): is a court order to provide protection to individuals who have been victims of domestic violence or abuse. It is intended to prevent further harm, harassment, or contact between the victim and the alleged abuser. DVROs are commonly sought by individuals who have been subjected to physical, emotional, or psychological abuse by a family member, intimate partner, spouse, or someone with whom they share a close relationship. The primary purpose of a DVRO is to ensure the safety and well-being of the victim by imposing legal restrictions on the alleged abuser's behavior. To obtain a DVRO, the victim (petitioner) must usually demonstrate to the court that they have a genuine and reasonable fear of imminent harm or abuse from the alleged abuser (respondent). A DVRO can include various provisions, such as ordering the respondent to stay away from the petitioner, prohibiting any form of contact or communication, and requiring the respondent to move out of a shared residence. DVROs can be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances and the outcome of the court proceedings. Temporary orders (TROs) are often issued initially to provide immediate protection, followed by a hearing to determine whether a permanent order is warranted. Violating a DVRO can result in legal consequences for the respondent, including arrest, fines, and potential jail time. The process for obtaining a DVRO can vary by jurisdiction, but it generally involves filing a petition with the court detailing the abuse or harassment and requesting the order. The court may schedule a hearing to review the evidence and decide whether to grant the order.

  • Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO): is a legal order that allows family members, household members, law enforcement, and sometimes even school personnel to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms and ammunition from an individual who is believed to pose a significant risk of harming themselves or others through gun violence. GVROs are intended to address situations where there are warning signs or credible evidence of potential gun-related violence, such as domestic violence, threats, or other concerning behavior. The primary purpose of a GVRO is to temporarily remove firearms and ammunition from individuals who are deemed to be at risk of committing acts of violence, particularly involving firearms. A person eligible to file for a GVRO, often a family member or law enforcement officer, must file a petition with the court. The petition outlines the reasons for seeking the GVRO and provides evidence of the individual's potential risk. If the court finds the evidence sufficient, it can issue a temporary GVRO. GVROs are typically temporary orders, usually lasting for a period of weeks to months. A court hearing is then scheduled to determine whether the order should be extended or made permanent. If a GVRO is granted, law enforcement is authorized to temporarily confiscate the individual's firearms and ammunition. The firearms are usually returned when the GVRO expires, unless the order is extended or made permanent. Violating a GVRO by attempting to acquire firearms or failing to surrender firearms as ordered can result in legal consequences, including arrest and potential charges. The individual subject to a GVRO has the right to a hearing before a judge to contest the order or provide their side of the story. This helps ensure that the process respects their due process rights. The specific procedures and criteria for obtaining a GVRO can vary depending on the jurisdiction. Laws related to GVROs are enacted at the state level, so the details may differ from state to state. GVROs are part of an effort to address concerns about gun violence and provide a way to intervene when there are indications of potential danger.

For more information regarding restraining orders, please contact any of the following agencies:


SJC Family Justice Center: 209-468-2600

PREVAIL: 209-941-2611

Chest of Hope (phone and text): 209-831-7889

Victim Witness (crime report needed): 209-468-2500

Domestic Violence Restraining Order packets and instructions can be found at the Superior Court of California County of San Joaquin's website links below:

Domestic Violence Restraining Order with Children

Domestic Violence Restraining Order without Children

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