Courts in San Bernardino hear the same four standard types of restraining orders that are litigated in all California courts. In restraining order matters, the individual applying for the restraining order is called the petitioner (he or she is the person or persons seeking protection) and the individual against whom protection is sought is called the respondent.
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The four types of restraining orders that are filed in San Bernardino Courts (and are similarly filed in all courts, throughout California) are:
Civil harassment Restraining Orders: this is the most common type of restraining order filed in California today. This type of order is a “catchall” and is the type of restraining order that is filed when the other three types of orders are not appropriate. In order for a civil harassment restraining order to issue, it must be proven that the petitioner has been harassed by the respondent.
According to California law, harassment is defined as, “unlawful violence, a credible threat of violence, or a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose.” Further, that course of conduct must be so pervasive that it would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress as a result of the conduct. Further, the conduct by the respondent must actually cause substantial emotional distress. Individuals seeking to file a civil harassment restraining order in San Bernardino County can use the following forms:
Form CH 100 → This is the main form that is filed in connection with a civil harassment restraining order. It provides the courts with details about a case and also includes what orders the petitioner (the person seeking protection) is requesting the court make. Orders such as “no contact” orders, “stay away” orders and others are requested on this form.
Form CH-110 → While not required, this form asks for a temporary restraining order, essentially with the conditions requested in Form CH 100, to be issued pending the permanent restraining order hearing. These orders have the same force and effect as permanent orders.
Form MC-031 → This is the form that includes witness statements that can support the petitioner’s request for a restraining order.
Form CLETS-001 → This form gives law enforcement the required information about the respondent in a civil harassment restraining order case.
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders: this is another commonly filed type of restraining order. For a domestic violence restraining order to be successfully alleged, the petitioner must establish that he or she has a qualifying relationship with the respondent. While the respondent and petitioner do not need to be married, the relationship must be one of the following: dating relationship, former dating relationship, married, divorced, child in common, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or in-law. Individuals who file civil harassment restraining order requests but have a qualifying relationship with the petitioner described above must file a domestic violence request. If the incorrect type of restraining order is requested, the process could need to begin from the beginning again, with a new request for temporary orders and a new waiting period for a permanent restraining order hearing.
Elder Abuse Restraining Orders: these types of orders can be filed by anyone or on behalf of anyone who is in a qualifying relationship with the respondent, which includes anyone 65 years old or older or any adult who has certain physical or mental disabilities that prevent him or her from performing normal activities. Further, the relationship between the petitioner and respondent must be by a caregiver or involve financial or physical abuse. Finally, neglect or abandonment is a qualifying offense. These types of orders, unlike others, can be requested by one adult on behalf of another. Unlike a workplace violence request where a company requests protection or other types of requests where other adults may be listed as additional protected individuals, elder abuse restraining order requests may be requested on behalf of another adult as the petitioner or primarily protected person. Also unlike other types of restraining orders, elder abuse restraining orders can be requested because of financial abuse only. Individuals who wish to seek redress for financial abuse who are not the victim of elder abuse (or the abuse of a disabled person) must request that assistance through the normal civil court process (or criminal justice process, if applicable). The reasons behind the ability to request an elder abuse restraining order for financial abuse are clear: the types of people protected by these types of orders are more vulnerable than the rest of the population and need extra protection.
Workplace Violence Restraining Orders: these types of restraining orders are often misunderstood and can be filed only by employers on behalf of employees. A common mistake by petitioners who wish to file a restraining order against a co-worker who is harassing them is to file the request as a workplace violence request. Workplace violence orders are requested by entities, not individuals, and therefore an attorney can appear without a personal representative, unlike other types of requests. Employees who wish to request a restraining order against another employee must ask for another type of restraining order, almost always a civil harassment restraining order.
A restraining order can lead to limitations on your activities and ability to go certain places and attend certain events. That is why it is very important to seek the help of a qualified restraining order attorney if you or a loved one has had a restraining order request filed against you. Further, a violation of a restraining order can and often does lead to criminal charges, which can sometimes result in actual jail time. That is why contesting a restraining order that is improperly requested is critically important.
In 2014, firearms restraining orders in San Bernardino County becamse an additional option for qualified individuals to prevent others from owning or having access to firearms. Firearms restraining orders are different from the other four types of restraining orders, discussed above, because they do not include typical restraining order conditions, such as stay away orders and / or no contact orders. Firearms restraining orders in San Bernardino County prevent the restrained person from owning, purchasing or possessing any ammunition or firearms. Further, respondents who have had a firearms restraining order issued against them must surrender any firearms to law enforcement or sell them to a licensed gun dealer. A husband, wife, domestic partner, parent, mother or father “in law,” grandparents (and their spouses or step-grandparents), grandchildren (and their spouses and step-grandchildren), siblings, children, or co-habitants (current or within the previous six months) may request a firearms restraining order, along with any law enforcement official.
San Bernardino County courts hear restraining orders throughout San Bernardino County. While San Bernardino is also a city within the county, there are other significant population centers where San Bernardino restraining orders can originate. Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Redlands, Rialto, Chino Hills, Chino, Fontana and Montclair all have restraining orders that originate in those cities heard in San Bernardino County courts. Despite the geographic differences throughout the state, the rules regarding restraining orders, the types of restraining orders, and the standards that must be met are uniform throughout California.
A request for a temporary restraining order in San Bernardino County, whether it is for civil harassment, domestic violence, elder abuse or workplace violence, is the initial stage of the proceeding. Regardless of whether the court grants or denies the request for a temporary restraining order, there will be a permanent hearing scheduled. Any temporary orders are only valid until the permanent hearing, and a temporary order does not necessarily mean the permanent order will be granted. The respondent will have an opportunity to counter the petitioner’s evidence at the temporary hearing and present evidence of his or her own. The contrary is also true: if the temporary order is not granted, it does not mean a permanent order will not be issued. A more complete hearing with opportunities to present evidence more fully can often produce a different result.
Many San Bernardino courts require or request that parties attend mediation prior to conducting a restraining order hearing. Mediation, where an impartial individual hears both sides’ arguments and attempts to resolve the matter without a hearing, can be a valuable tool in resolving matters to the satisfaction of both sides. However, neither side is required to resolve the matter during mediation and either side can choose to proceed to the full restraining order hearing, where evidence is taken, in any matter.
Defending a Restraining Order in San Bernardino
Form CH-109 → this documents gives all information regarding the permanent restraining order hearing that will occur in the future. It gives the court’s address, the department number, if applicable, and the time of the hearing.
Form CH-100 → this is the document that alleges the different allegations the petitioner is making against the respondent. It will contain the alleged misconduct or inappropriate behavior by the respondent that needs to be responded to.
Form CH-130 → if there were temporary orders issued by the court, this form will contain those orders, which will be in effect until the next hearing date. There is nothing you can do to remove the temporary orders other than to attend the hearing on the permanent order and contest them, if you choose. Violating the orders in Form CH-130 can result in criminal charges being filed in the exact same way they would if a violation of a permanent restraining order occurred.
Form CH-120 → this document will be (or should be) provided with nothing on it. It will serve as a responsive document that a respondent may fill out that will include defenses to the alleged conduct. All evidence indicating that the allegations made by the petitioner are untrue should be included with this form so the court can review it.
Respondents have the same opportunity to present evidence as petitioners do (respondents are the individuals that protection is sought from, while petitioners are the individuals seeking protection) in restraining order hearings. Respondents may cross examine all of the petitioner’s witnesses and are always are permitted to call witnesses, both to contradict the petitioner’s evidence and to provide evidence of innocence or evidence of a lack of inappropriate behavior. Further, respondents in restraining order hearings are permitted to introduce documentary evidence in the form of exhibits in the same way petitioners may. Exhibits may include written documents, pictures, audio recordings or video. Often, evidence in the form of exhibits is very effective in making a petitioner’s case less strong or eliminating the essential elements of the petitioner’s case.
RESTRAINING ORDER RESOURCES
Victims of abuse in San Bernardino are assisted by various public agencies, including the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Bureau of Victim Services, which assists domestic violence victims and victims of harassment obtain restraining orders. Victims of crimes can also contact the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office at (909) 382-3669 or that office can be contacted online. Again, as stated above, if you or someone else is in immediate danger, the police can assist you 24 hours a day, every day. If you are in imminent danger, always call 911 right away. The police can also assist with issuing an immediate protective order.