Special Announcement

Posted Thursday, March 26, 2020

Enforce a Restraining Order

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If the Restrained Person Disobeys the Restraining Order

If the restrained person violates (disobeys) any of the orders in your restraining order, act right away.

1. Call the police

  • Show the police a copy of your orders.
  • If the restrained person is there and has not been served (given) a copy of the order, ask the police officer to serve the orders. Make sure you give the police a Proof of Personal Service (CLETS) (Form DV-200) to fill out and return to you. Then, you must file this form at the court.

2. Gather proof of the violation of the restraining order

  • Write down what happened, when, where, and the names of any witnesses.
  • Get written statements or declarations from the witnesses.
  • Make an audio copy of any threatening voicemail messages.
  • Print out any threatening e-mails or Internet postings.
  • Retain any threatening text messages.
  • Get copies of police reports.
  • If you were hurt, get copies of medical reports.

3. Get copies of your order and give key people a copy
Get copies of your restraining order and proof of service from the court clerk:

  • Keep 1 copy with you AT ALL TIMES. You may need to show it to the police. You may want to keep 1 in your car and another in your purse, backpack or briefcase.
  • Keep another copy in a safe place.
  • Give a copy to anyone else protected by the order.
  • Take copies to places where the restrained person is ordered NOT to go (school, work, daycare, etc.).
  • Give a copy to the security officers in your apartment or office buildings.
  • Make sure your local police have a copy, too. Ask them to enter it into CLETS, a special computer system that lets police all over the state find out about your order.

When a Restraining Order Is Violated

1. The police can arrest the restrained person
It is a crime to disobey the judge’s orders. The restrained person can:

  • Be fined, or
  • Go to jail.

2. Talk to your district attorney (“DA”)
Ask your local district attorney how he or she will handle your case. The DA may file criminal charges against the restrained person. You can always call the DA for information about a criminal case.

3. File a civil contempt action
You can file papers in court asking the judge to find the restrained person in “contempt of court” for violating the restraining orders. The restrained person could be punished with 5 days in jail for each violation of the restraining order.

  • Since the restrained person could go to jail, contempt actions are very serious and should only be used as a last resort, if the restrained person will not stop violating the order.
  • Contempt cases are very difficult and the restrained person will have the right to a court-appointed lawyer.
  • Make sure you have very detailed descriptions of each time the restrained person violated the order, including dates, times, witness statements, police reports, pictures, etc.
  • Talk to a lawyer to get help with the contempt paperwork and court process. Click for help finding a lawyer.

Enforcing Out-of-State Restraining Orders

If you have a restraining order from another state, that order is valid in California. Law enforcement must enforce it as long as it is a valid order.

If you want your out-of-state restraining order to be entered into California’s restraining order computer system, you can register your order in California. Once your order is in the computer system, it is available to law enforcement all over California so police officers across the state can find out about your order in case you need to call them.

To register your order with the court:

  1. Fill out Order to Register Out-of-State or Tribal Court Protective/Restraining Order (CLETS) (Form DV-600).
  2. Take your Form DV-600 with a certified copy of your restraining order to your local courthouse.
  3. Once your court registers your order in California, ask the clerk if your court will send your order to the state computer system. If not, take a copy of the order to your local police department.