Civil Harassment FAQs

Civil Harassment — Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I have to pay a court fee when I ask for a civil harassment restraining order?

A: You do not have to pay a fee if you are asking for a restraining order against a person who:

  • Was violent,
  • Threatened you,
  • Stalked you, or
  • Acted in a way that scared you.

In other cases, you may have to pay a fee unless you qualify for a “fee waiver.” For those cases where there is a fee, find out how much the filing fee is (look for the fee for a "Complaint or other first paper in an unlimited civil case").  Find out more about court fee waivers.

Q: I want to ask for a restraining order, but the other person does not know my address and I do not want him or her to know. What can I do?

A: You may be able to use a program called Safe at Home. It is run by the California Secretary of State. If you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the program gives you a secure address to use for your court papers (or for banking and other things) so that you can keep your address confidential.

Q: Do I need a lawyer for my restraining order case?

A: No. But it is a good idea. Click for help finding a lawyer.

Ask the court clerk about free or low-cost legal services in your county. Find your local court location. The clerk can also send you to the court’s self-help center if their office helps people with civil harassment restraining orders.

Q: Will I see the restrained person at the court hearing?

A: If the restrained person comes to the hearing, yes. But that person does not have the right to sit near you or speak to you (except when it is his or her turn to ask questions). If you are afraid, tell the court officer when you arrive at court. The court officer will make sure you are safe.

Q: Can I get a restraining order if I do not have a green card?

A: You can still get a restraining order. If you are worried about deportation, talk to an immigration lawyer. Click for help finding a lawyer.

Q: Someone is asking for a restraining order against me. I do not have a green card. What can I do?

A: You do not need a green card to go to court for a civil harassment restraining order case. They will not report you to immigration. BUT having a restraining order against you may affect your immigration status if you are trying to get legal papers. It is VERY important that you talk to an immigration lawyer. Click for help finding a lawyer.

Q: If I move out of California, what happens to the restraining order?

A: Your restraining order works anywhere in the U.S. If you move out of California, contact your new local police so they will know about your orders.

Q: What if I am deaf or hard-of-hearing and I have to go to court?

 

A: If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, contact the clerk at least 1 week before the hearing. Click to find your local court. Ask for a sign language interpreter or other accommodation. For more help, read For Persons With Disabilities Requesting Accommodations: Questions and Answers on Rule of Court 1.100 for Court Users

And every court has an ADA Coordinator that can help you.

Q: What if I have to go to court and I do not speak English?

 

A: When you file your papers, tell the clerk you will need an interpreter. If a court interpreter is not available, bring someone to interpret for you. Do not ask a child, a person protected in the restraining order, or a witness to interpret for you. Get tips to help you work with a court interpreter.

Q: What if I have to go to court and I need accommodations because I have a disability?

 

A: If you have a disability, contact the clerk at least 1 week before the hearing to ask for accommodations. Click here to find your local court. For more help, read For Persons With Disabilities Requesting Accommodations: Questions and Answers on Rule of Court 1.100 for Court Users.

Q: What if the restrained person does not obey the restraining order?

A: Call the police. The restrained person can be arrested and charged with a crime. Find out more by reading Enforce a Civil Harassment Restraining Order.

Q: What if there is a restraining order against me but the protected person contacts me?

A: No matter what, you have to follow the court order. The order does not affect the protected person. It only affects what you can do.

Q: What is CLETS?

A: CLETS stands for California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System. It is a statewide computer system that lets police know about the existence of a restraining order, including details on the person protected, the person restrained, and the terms of the restraining order.

Q: I have a restraining order against me and I have to sell my gun. How do I sell it?

A: Look for a licensed gun dealer in your area. Look under “Firearms Dealers” in your local phone book’s Yellow Pages. Make sure the dealer is licensed. You will have to give the court paperwork proving that you sold your gun, and only a licensed gun dealer can help you provide this proof. You can use the form Proof of Firearms Turned In or Sold (Form CH-800) to file proof with the court.

For more information about selling your firearms, read How Do I Turn in or Sell My Firearms? (Form DV-800-INFO).

Q: How do I take my gun to law enforcement?

A: Call your local agency to ask about their procedures. Take a copy of the restraining order with you. Go directly to the law enforcement agency. Do not go anywhere else with firearms in your vehicle! Make sure your gun is not loaded when you take it to law enforcement.

For more information about turning in your firearms, read How Do I Turn in or Sell My Firearms? (Form DV-800-INFO) and Proof of Firearms Turned In or Sold (Form CH-800).

Q: If I turn my gun in to law enforcement, how long will they keep it?

A: They will keep your gun until the court order ends.

Q: After I give my gun to law enforcement, can I change my mind?

A: Yes. You are allowed to make one sale. To do this, a licensed gun dealer must give a bill of sale to your local law enforcement agency. The law enforcement agency will give the licensed gun dealer the firearm you are selling.

Q: Do I have to pay the law enforcement agency to keep my gun?

A: You may have to pay the agency for keeping your gun. Contact your local law enforcement agency and ask if a fee is charged. After your court order ends, the agency will tell you how much you need to pay.

For more information about turning in your firearms, read How Do I Turn in or Sell My Firearms? (Form DV-800-INFO).

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