Domestic Violence Restraining Order DV-110: How to Conduct Yourself to Avoid Further Legal Problems

When your current or former spouse, cohabitant or parent of your child accuses you of domestic abuse, you could get issued with a restraining order. The justice system sees a restraining order as protection for the victim and will therefore restrict your freedom as follows:

  • Prohibit your from making contact with the victim or from being near them
  • Take away your right to possess a firearm while the restraining order is in effect
  • You could have to move out of your home
  • You will only see your children under supervision
  • You will be required to pay child and spousal support and certain bills
  • You’ll have to keep away from family pets
  • You cannot change details of insurance policies
  • You cannot incur any expenses or make any decisions that affect your property or the victim’s property
  • You’ll have to return certain belongings

You’ll have to abide by these and any other requirements as failure to do so could result in being fined $1000 or jail time of up to 1 year. To be on the safe side of the law, if you are issued with a restraining order:

  1. Contact a lawyer familiar with California Domestic Violence law. A domestic violence lawyer will evaluate your case and provide counsel that can keep you from incurring further legal troubles.
  2. Read very carefully through form DV-110. All of the relevant details of the restraining order are contained in this form. Note each of the persons who are named in the order and you are required to stay away from and act accordingly. In case you are required to move out, pack all the belongings you will need to avoid having to go back to the house for anything, as this will violate the order.
  3. Turn your gun over to the police, sell it or surrender it to an arms dealer who will hold it for you. FORM DV-800-INFO will guide you on how to handle your firearm after you have been served with DV-110.
  4. File an answer to the restraining order using form DV-120. If you don’t agree with the restraining order, or feel the victim misrepresented the facts, you will get an opportunity to give your side of the story. You can file a ‘response to request for a temporary restraining order’ using Form DV-120 and attend the court hearing. In your response, you can express to the judge whatever orders you also want to institute, especially if you have children.
  5. Do not skip the court hearing. The details of the court hearing will be contained in form DV-109, which is the ‘notice for court hearing’ form. The court hearing will be your platform to tell your side of the story and for fighting the restraining order, so note down the date, correct time and correct court location and be prepared to appear in front of the judge on that day.

Consequences of not showing up in court:

  • The judge might make the restraining order stand without hearing what you have to stay. The restraining order could last for a 5 year term.
  • Important decisions regarding your children, child support, spousal support and others, could be made without consideration of your interests.

The outcome of your court hearing will be greatly influenced by the presence of an attorney. Courtrooms can be quite intimidating and even when you know you are not on the wrong, you could end up incriminating yourself and subsequently need to hire an attorney to undo the damage. Hire a lawyer to help fight against the restrictions put on you by the restraining order, including taking away your right to visit your children.

It is especially important to have attorney representation if you have a criminal past.

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