Domestic Violence

Issuing threats, stalking behavior, physical assault, sexual assault, abusive conduct, or threats of abuse where the person being abused and the abuser are family members or have been in an intimate relationship (married or domestic partners, are dating or use to date, live or lived together, or have a child together) constitute domestic violence in California. Domestic violence laws in California define “abuse” as:

– Physically hurting or trying to hurt someone, intentionally, or recklessly
– Sexual assault/molestation
– Making someone reasonably afraid that they or someone else are about to be seriously hurt


– Behavior like harassing, stalking, threatening, battering or hitting someone,  disturbing someone’s peace, or destroying someone’s personal property

Keep in mind that physical abuse is not just hitting. Abuse can be kicking, shoving, pushing, pulling hair, throwing things, scaring or following someone, keeping someone from freely coming and going, and can even include physical abuse of family pets. Further, abuse does not have to be physical. Abuse can be verbal, emotional, or psychological. You do not have to be hit to be abused. Often, abuse takes many forms, and abusers use a combination of tactics to control and have power over another person.

If you are involved in a domestic dispute, are the recipient of domestic violence, or have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, you need help as you navigate through the court process. The consequences of having a California domestic violence restraining order entered, for or against you, can be severe. Requesting or defending against a restraining order is of paramount importance. A restraining order can lead to the following consequences:

  • If a restraining order is issued by the judge, it will be filed with the court and lodged with every police agency in the state of California via the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System referred to as a “CLETS” Order. The CLETS Order has the effect that if a law enforcement officer stops a person against whom the CLETS order is issued, the officer will be aware of the restraining order and deal with the individual accordingly.
  • If there is a restraining order violation, the person could face up to $1,000 in fines and up to one year in jail.
  • The court may order that the restrained person be excluded from the protected person’s place of residence and stay at least 100 yards away from that person’s residence, their place of employment, their vehicle, and if children are included as “protected persons” in the Order, the restrained party may be ordered to stay 100 yards away from the children’s school. Additionally, the court may order personal conduct restraints precluding the restrained party from contacting (including telephone, mail, email, or other electronic means) either directly or through another, harassing, attacking, hitting, striking, assaulting, stalking, following, molesting, destroying personal property, disturbing the peace, keeping under surveillance, or blocking the movements of the protected party.
  • The ability to travel may be restricted.
  • Orders may be entered that require the restrained party to complete a 52-week anger management course or batterer’s program.
  • If the CLETS order includes minor children, then this may impact existing and future orders regarding custody and visitation, including the amount of time the restrained person can spend with their children and limitations on the party’s visitation rights, such as requiring that the visitation be supervised by a professional monitor.
  • The restrained party will have to immediately surrender any firearms in their possession or which they own.
  • A court may order that upon request, and the party who is protected by the CLETS order be allowed to tape record all conversations with the party who has the CLETS order issued against them.

Domestic violence proceedings in the family law courts can have serious and long-lasting consequences affecting one’s rights as briefly described herein.

If you believe you have been a victim of domestic violence, don’t hesitate to contact Phillips Whisnant Gazin Gorczyca & Curtin, LLP today to arrange a meeting with one of our domestic violence attorneys. We will fight to defend your legal rights and keep you and your children safe from harm.

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