Civil Harassment Restraining Order
The clinics operate on a “first come, first served basis.” We do not take appointments, and it is important to arrive early to make sure you are helped! Once you are signed up on our sign-in sheet for the clinic, you will need to complete an application for our services.
- Plan to spend a half-day to full-day at the courthouse to complete the process of obtaining a restraining order.
- Restraining order paperwork must be completed and filed with the business office by 3:00 p.m. in order for the judge to make a decision that day.
- ***Clinics are closed on court holidays. Check court holidays here.
South County Clinic
East County Clinic
Hall of of Justice Clinic
- Assist with the court forms required to petition for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order.
- Assist with the court forms to respond to a Civil Harassment Restraining Order.
- Explain your legal options and provide information and education on Civil Harassment Restraining Orders.
We do NOT offer legal advice or represent you at your court hearing.
- Have the full name, description and address (if possible) of the person you want restrained. If the person you want restrained does not already know your address, be prepared to provide an address you are comfortable with that person knowing. They will need to have an address at which you can be served (by mail) with any response that may be filed.
- Make a written record of specific examples with the dates/times that the person has abused you and be prepared to provide this information at the clinic.
- Bring any police report or other written evidence of the harassment.
What is a Civil Harassment Restraining order?
In general, civil harassment is abuse, threats of abuse, stalking, sexual assault, or serious harassment by
- Someone you have not dated and is NOT closely related to you, like a neighbor, a roommate, or a friend (that you have never dated);
- A family member that is not included in the list under domestic violence. For example, abuse from an aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, or cousin, is considered civil harassment and NOT domestic violence.
The civil harassment laws say “harassment” is:
- Unlawful violence like assault, battery or stalking, OR
- A credible (real) threat of violence, AND
- The violence or threats seriously scare, annoy, or harass someone and there is no valid reason for it.
“Credible threat of violence” means intentionally saying something or acting in a way that would make a reasonable person afraid for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family. A “credible threat of violence” includes following or stalking someone, making harassing calls, or sending harassing messages, by phone, mail, or e-mail, over a period of time (even if it is a short time).
What Can a Restraining Order Do?
A restraining order is a court order. It can order the restrained person to:
- Not contact you or any member of your household;
- Not go near you, your children, or others who live with you, no matter where you go;
- Stay away from your work, your school, or your children’s school; and
- Not have a gun.
Once the court issues (grants) a restraining order, it goes into a statewide computer system. This means that law enforcement officers across California can see there is a restraining order in place.
When you go to court for the hearing that was scheduled for your TRO, the judge may issue a "permanent" restraining order. They are not really "permanent" but can last up to 5 years. Before the end of those 5 years (or whenever your order runs out), you can ask to renew the restraining order to last a longer period or permanently so you can remain protected.
Effect of a Restraining Order on the Restrained Person
For the person to be restrained, the consequences of having a court order against him or her can be very severe.
- He or she will not be able to go to certain places or do certain things.
- He or she will generally not be able to own a gun. (And he or she will have to turn in or sell any guns he or she has and will not be able to buy a gun while the restraining order is in effect.)
- The restraining order may affect his or her immigration status. If you are a person to be restrained and you are worried about this, talk to an immigration lawyer to find out if you will be affected.
If the person to be restrained violates the restraining order, he or she may go to jail, pay a fine, or both.
Are there fees to file a Civil Harassment Restraining Order?
There may be court fees to file Civil Harassment Restraining Order papers at the court. Fees may be waived if there is violence, threat of violence, stalking, or if you are entitled to a fee waiver.
San Diego Court website on Civil Harassment Restraining Orders, click here
Mediation services for Civil Harassment:
- In the Central, East or South County Divisions, the National Conflict Resolution Center may be able to provide mediation services without any cost to you or the other party.
- In the North County Division, North County Lifeline may be able to provide mediation services without any cost to you or the other party.