Cases regarding conduct that occurs in the following areas a be heard at the Burbank Courthouse, located at 300 East Olive, in Burbank: parts of Los Angeles (zip code 91608), parts of North Hollywood (zip codes 91609, 91611, 91612 and 91618), Sun Valley, Sunland, and Universal City.
Burbank Courthouse hears all four types of restraining orders that can be filed in California. Specifically, those types of restraining orders include:
- Domestic violence restraining orders – these types of orders are filed between relatives, parents of a child together, individuals involved in a dating relationship, and other qualified relationships. Individuals seeking a restraining order should be careful to request the correct type. Requesting a civil harassment order when a domestic violence order is the appropriate type may be forced to begin from the beginning again – a qualifying relationship requires the filing of a domestic violence request. Domestic violence restraining orders can issued for up to five years and can be renewed upon request and approval of a court, even without additional inappropriate conduct;
- Elder abuse restraining orders – appropriate order for those who are 65 years or older or for those who are mentally or physically disabled. Like domestic violence orders, elder abuse retraining orders can issue for up to five years and can be extended for up to five years, with the approval of a judge, without any new evidence of wrongdoing by the respondent. Unlike other types of requests, elder abuse restraining order requests can be filed and requested on behalf of an adult by another individual. Unlike other types of requests where requests on behalf of other adults must be filed by a company or be requested in the context of additional protected persons, elder abuse restraining orders allow an adult to file on behalf of another.
- Workplace violence restraining orders – can only be filed by an employer on behalf of an employee. Employees who wish to file restraining orders against other employees should file civil harassment restraining orders, discussed below. Workplace violence restraining orders can last for up to three years and can be renewed for up to three years without a showing of continued wrongful conduct by the respondent, with the approval of a judge. Unlike other types of restraining orders, workplace violence order require a representative for the petitioner to attend the hearing on the permanent restraining order, not the petitioner himself or herself. This is because the order is being requested by the employer, which is a company, partnership, charitable organization, governmental agency, or other type of entity – the only requirement is that it employs individuals.
- Civil harassment restraining orders – the catchall type of order, can be filed when other types are not appropriate. There must be a pattern of harassment for a restraining order to be granted and these types of orders can last up to three years with the opportunity to renew for up to three years upon the approval of a judge, even without additional inappropriate conduct by the respondent. Harassment is any violence that is unlawful (or a real / credible threat of violence). Harassment can also be defined as a course of conduct that is willful and directed at a specific individual. Further, that course of conduct must harass, annoy or alarm that individual while serving no legal purpose. Finally, that conduct must cause substantial emotional distress (and the emotional distress must be reasonable). The reasonableness of the emotional distress is a decision made by the court using the standard of the average reasonable person.
Burbank Restraining Order Resources
There are extensive resources available in the Burbank area for people seeking a restraining order, as well as for victims of abuse and violence.
The Burbank Police Department website provides extensive information for victims of crimes including domestic violence and other types of abuse, including information on reporting crimes as well as information regarding criminal protective orders, civil restraining orders and criminal prosecutions.
The Burbank Courthouse holds daily restraining order clinics for victims of domestic violence and elder abuse. The clinics take place between 9am and 1pm and provide assistance with filling out and filing the restraining order paperwork, as well as guidance regarding how to present evidence in court and what to expect at the hearing. The clinics are held free of charge.
The County of Los Angeles provides services for victims of elder abuse, and people attempting to obtain elder abuse restraining orders. These services are provided by the Los Angeles County Community and Senior Services Center, which has an elder abuse hotline – (877) 477-3646.
Restraining Order Process in Burbank
In order to start the process of obtaining a restraining order, the person who is requesting the restraining order (the petitioner) must fill out the proper forms. These forms contain information about the person against whom protection is sought (the respondent) as well as the facts and circumstances leading to the request for restraining order. It is usually a good idea to add evidence with the request for restraining order. The paperwork must then be taken to the civil filing clerk at the Burbank courthouse and filed with the clerk (in restraining order matters, each side may present evidence to support their case as well as evidence to counter the other side’s contentions – this means evidence in the form of exhibits such as documents or evidence in the form of live testimony from eye witnesses or witnesses to other events that create a circumstantial case for or against the issuance of a restraining order).
When the petitioner files their request with the clerk, the clerk will look at all of the paperwork to make sure that it is properly filled out and that all of the necessary forms are included. The clerk will also review the request and let the petitioner know if a filing fee is required with their filing. Domestic violence restraining orders and elder abuse restraining orders do not require a filing fee, while the other types may require one depending on the allegations contained in the paperwork. For example, a civil harassment restraining order costs $435.00 to file, unless the paperwork contains allegations of violence or of threats of imminent violence, in which case the filing fee is waived. If a filing fee is required, but the petitioner cannot afford the fee, a fee waiver can be requested.
Once the paperwork is accepted by the clerk, the clerk will stamp the paperwork and send it to a judge to review. The petitioner will be asked to wait either in the judge’s courtroom, or in the hallway outside while the judge reviews the paperwork. The judge will read all of the allegations and decide whether or not a temporary restraining order should be granted. The temporary restraining order will be granted if the judge decides that the paperwork contains sufficient allegations of abuse and harassment to warrant the respondent being restrained until the hearing date. The judge can choose to issue a temporary restraining order requiring that the other party (the respondent) not to contact the petitioner, not to come within a certain distance of the petitioner, and in cases involving domestic violence where the parties live together, that the respondent immediately move out of the shared home. The judge will then set the case for hearing and sign the paperwork.
The petitioner will then receive 3 copies of the signed paperwork containing the hearing date. One copy is for the petitioner, one copy is for the police and one copy is for service on the respondent. The paperwork will also let the petitioner know whether or not there is a temporary restraining order, and, if so, what the terms of that order are.
Unless the paperwork states otherwise, it is the petitioner’s responsibility to turn a copy of the paperwork over to the local police department. This allows the police to enter the information into the CLETS system which allows the police to enforce restraining order violations. The judge sometimes requires the clerk to deliver the paperwork to the police instead of having the petitioner do it.
It is also the petitioner’s responsibility to serve the restraining order paperwork on the respondent. The paperwork must be personally served (hand delivered) to the respondent by someone who is over the age of 18 and not a party to the case, or listed in the paperwork as an additional protected person. Service can be done by any third party who fits those criteria, or the petitioner can choose to have the sheriff or a private process server serve the paperwork for a fee. Once the paperwork is served, a proof of service must be filed with the court to let the judge know that the respondent has been served and is required to attend the hearing.
The petitioner is also required to serve a copy of the paperwork on the respondent. If the petitioner wants the sheriff to serve the respondent with the restraining order, a fee will apply. The restraining order can also be served by a private process server or by any third party who is not a part of the case and is over 18 years of age. Once the paperwork is served, a proof of service must be filed with the court or brought to the hearing.
Burbank restraining order cases are sometimes referred to mediation. Mediation is an informal attempt by a mediator selected by the court to meet with the parties separately and attempt to fashion an agreement between the parties. Mediators are usually experienced attorneys, retired judges, or mental health professionals who volunteer their time in order to help resolve restraining order cases. There is no requirement that the cases be settled at mediation, but if a case is selected for mediation, the parties are required to make a good faith effort to settle. This involves at least speaking to the mediator and listening to the mediator’s suggestions. Mediation agreements usually contain provisions for the parties to stay a certain distance away from each other and not to contact each other under any circumstances. Mediation agreements are not restraining orders, and a party cannot be arrested for violating the agreement. If the parties do not settle at mediation, the mediator will advise the judge, and the case will proceed to hearing.
If the case proceeds to a hearing in front of a judge, the parties are required to be prepared to proceed at the time of the hearing. This means that the parties must have their witnesses present and ready to testify, and must have all of their documents ready to be presented to the judge. It is usually a good idea to bring at least 3 copies of any document you want to present – one copy for each party and one copy for the judge. Also, if a party plans on presenting audio or video, it is that party’s responsibility to make sure that the judge will be able to see and hear the evidence. Some courtrooms are equipped with technology to play audio and video, while others require the parties to being a laptop or tablet. Some, but not all, of the judges will also look at cell phone video and audio if necessary. As discussed above, each side may present any acceptable form of evidence, such as exhibits or live testimony from witnesses.
After the judge hears all of the testimony and reviews the evidence, the judge will issue a decision. If the restraining order is granted, it will usually last between 3 and 5 years, although the judge can use their discretion to shorten that term. A violation of a valid restraining order can lead to an arrest and a monetary fine.
If the losing party disagrees with the result and feels the judge committed some sort of error, there is a right to appeal. The notice of appeal must be filed at most 60 days after the hearing date. It is important to note that an appeal cannot be based on any new evidence – only evidence presented at the hearing can be discussed in an appeal. The appeal has to be based on a legal or evidentiary error made by the judge. For example, if the judge refused to let a witness testify, refused to look at a crucial piece of evidence, or used the wrong legal standard of proof to make their decision.