Having a restraining order imposed on you is not the same thing as being sent to jail, but it still has a huge impact on your freedom. Depending on the terms of the order, you could be prohibited from being near your spouse, partner and/or children. You could even be forced to move out of your home or quit your job if you live or work with the person who obtained the order.
Thus, contesting the petition for a permanent restraining order against you makes sense most of the time. The stakes are too high to ignore the hearing where you get your chance to show that the evidence is not sufficient for the judge to grant the permanent order.
Clear and convincing evidence
California law states that the judge must grant a restraining order when the petitioner proves their case by “clear and convincing evidence.” This legal concept essentially means that the petitioner’s claims are highly probable to be true. While not as high of a standard of proof as the one used in criminal court, this is still a fairly tough burden on the petitioner.
Evidence you might expect at the hearing
Evidence commonly presented at the hearing includes:
- Eyewitness accounts
- Photos of injuries
- Police reports
- Copies of medical bills and other relevant bills
Though this is a separate process than any criminal charges pending against you, the hearing can resemble a trial in several ways. You can have an attorney representing you at the hearing. Your lawyer can also prepare you ahead of time so you know what to expect.