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Restraining Order Defense

Matthew Ruff, Top CA Restraining Order Defense Attorney

Former District Attorney Office Experience!

California Law permits Judges to restrain certain conduct through the use of injunctions called restraining orders. Their are numerous types of restraining orders available, however the Law Office of Matthew J. Ruff only defends two basic types: Domestic Violence and Civil Harassment.
The first type is the domestic violence restraining order, sometimes called a DVRO. These orders are obtained by filing a petition with the local Court alleging that someone within the "domestic unit" has used threats of violence, is stalking or has inflicted injury upon the requesting party. These TRO's are generally the easiest to obtain if indeed there is evidence of one of the qualifying criteria. If an arrest took place prior to the request for the order of protection then it is almost certain that a Judge will issue the temporary order and set a hearing date for the issuance of a permanent restraining order, usually with two weeks of the granting of the initial DVRO. Once signed by the Court the order must be served on the individual in order to become valid. At the hearing for permanent restraint, the Judge must find that evidence establishes by a preponderance of facts that one of the elements is satisfied. Both parties can have attorneys, however, it is particularly important that the person to be restrained is represented by competent legal counsel due to the fact that once the DVRO is issued it will remain in effect for a minimum of three years and can last as long as ten years. The Domestic Violence Restraining Order will appear on all public record data bases (CLETS) and will often be viewed by potential employers and others when seeking jobs, licenses, loans, etc. Attorneys can often defend requests for DVRO's when they are being used inappropriately for reasons such as leverage in upcoming divorce proceedings, child custody hearings, and for revenge for infidelity and other reasons.

The Domestic Violence Restraining Order will contain a variety of different orders such as a stay away of often at least 100 yards from the person protected. A "kick out" order causing the person to have to move from any family residence; stay away orders for children and relatives; orders to not contact by phone, e-mail or any other written or electronic communication; orders not to intimidate or persuade not to come to Court or testify against the other party. These types of DVRO instruments can also be part of the criminal court system if criminal charges are filed in Court following an arrest by police.

In some instances a person will be served a restraining order which is intended to silence them from exercising their right to free speech. In these situations California law provides for a quick remedy to prevent a party from intimidating someone. The statutory remedy is called an anti SLAPP motion and it can be very effective to resolve a case. Recently, Matt was successful in having a civil harassment restraining order dismissed without a hearing simply by serving the other side with the motion. It is an effective tool in the arsenal of a defense attorney because it can result in attorney fees if it is successful. Nearly 25 years ago, the California Legislature enacted Section 425.16 of the Code of Civil Procedure to provide for the early dismissal of merit less lawsuits aimed at chilling the valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances. Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §425.16(a). These merit less lawsuits often are referred to as “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation” or “SLAPP” suits, with the result that Section 425.16 has come to be called the “Anti-SLAPP' statute. Once the defendant makes a threshold showing that a plaintiff’s request for a restraining order is one arising from statutorily protected activity, the burden then shifts to the plaintiff to establish the probability that it will prevail on the merits of each of its causes of action. Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 425.16(b). Matthew has been very successful in getting restraining orders dropped and dismissed using these Anti-SLAPP statutes. These laws can be a very successful deterrent against malicious suits brought to chill your freedom of speech rights.

What is the main difference between a restraining order and a protective order? In California, a person can get a restraining order against another person one of two ways. The first is through the civil court process of filing for either a DVRO or CHRO and going to Court to ask a Judge to restrain a person's freedom from contacting you or coming within a certain distance of your location. In contrast, the protective order is usually issued by a criminal court after someone is charged with a crime, such as domestic violence.

What are the Criminal Consequences of violating a Restraining Order?

Any willful disobedience of any TRO or order after hearing granted under CCP §527.6 is punishable under California Penal Code section 273.6. CCP §527.6(t). Penal Code §273.6 provides that any intentional and knowing violation of an order issued under CCP §527.6 is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and/or by imprisonment in the county jail for up to 1 year. Pen C §273.6(a). Any violation of the order that results in physical injury is punishable by a fine of up to $2000 and/or by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than 1 year. Pen C §273.6(b). However, if a respondent is imprisoned in county jail for at least 48 hours, the court may, in the interest of justice, reduce or eliminate the 30-day minimum imprisonment. Pen C §273.6(b).

Matthew defends criminal charges stemming from violation of Court Orders. In one recent case Matt defended a client charged in Redondo Beach California for two counts PC 273.6(a) and one count PC 242, Battery. Matt determined the charges lacked merit and was motivated by a disgruntled ex husband seeking leverage in an ongoing child custody battle. The complaining witness alleged the client sent text messages and phone calls in violation of a temporary restraining order issued in Los Angeles. The attorney investigated the facts and uncovered a favorable witness that presented exculpatory evidence. Matthew presented this to the City Prosecutor who ultimately agreed to DISMISS ALL CHARGES.

With over 25 years experience fighting restraining order violations, Matthew is available to defend you or a loved one using well-worn legal techniques, defenses and with an understanding of the stress and worry involved. Recently, Matt was hired by a young woman in Redondo Beach facing a criminal violation of a Family Court Stay Away Order. The client was worried because her ex husband was a bully and was threatening to take away all custody to her children. The client knew that a conviction in criminal court would be used against her in the custody proceedings. Matt launched an intensive investigation and uncovered exculpatory evidence that he presented to the prosecutor who ultimately agreed to DISMISS ALL CHARGES.

Violation of DVRO or stay away orders can also be prosecuted under Penal Code 136.1 and 136.2. The charges could be brought either as a felony or a misdemeanor and can carry jail time or imprisonment in the CDC if convicted. Criminal Charges can also be brought under Penal Code 166 as contempt of a valid Court Order if the defendant knew of the order, failed to obey the order if having the ability to do so, and the failure was willful. Criminal contempt charges are often treated very harshly by the Court. Violations of domestic orders can also be prosecuted under PC 273.6 which is an intentional violation of a protective order issued by any family law court.

The other TRO our office defends are called Civil Harassment Restraining Orders. In order to get this type of legal action the Court must find that the person seeking relief is the victim of a threat of violence, stalking, been injured physically by the defendant or has endured a pattern of harassment that shows a course of conduct designed to annoy or harass and serves no legitimate purpose. The plaintiff must prove the conduct by clear and convincing evidence at the hearing in Court. Defense Attorney Matthew Ruff has a near perfect track record in defending Civil Harassment restraining Orders in Los Angeles County.

One recent example of success is a case Matthew defended in Los Angeles County. The client was served with a TRO (Civil Harassment) regarding conduct that the attorney believed was Constitutionally protected free speech. At the hearing Matthew convinced the Judge of that fact despite testimony from multiple witnesses, including a Judge, that the other party was being harassed. After the hearing the Judge agreed the Mr. Ruff and dropped the TRO forthwith. The decision sparked a media event that culminated in numerous articles reporting the case. Click here to read one of the news accounts of the Court case.

Of the many favorable Court results that the Restraining Order Defense Lawyer has obtained, nearly all seem to be motivated by reasons other than that the person actually feared the prospective restrained individual. Jealousy, intimidation, vengeance, spite, scorn, child custody, are among the reasons Mr. Ruff has seen people file bogus restraining orders.

Having the benefit of an experienced and aggressive restraining order defense lawyer makes all the difference in these types of cases. Our law office has prevailed in defending all manner of TRO actions in many Courts such as Torrance, Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Inglewood, Norwalk, and Pomona.

Recent Restraining Order Victories

Kern County Superior Court, Civil Harassment Restraining Order. Dismissed with prejudice after filing an Anti-SLAPP motion.

Torrance Superior Court, Domestic Violence Restraining Order sought by wife seeking a divorce against husband, Result: Restraining Order Dropped in Court.

Torrance Court Los Angeles County, TRO for Civil harassment filed by neighbor over dispute regarding use of property, Result: TRO Dropped prior to Hearing.

All charges dismissed in a criminal prosecution of violation of temporary restraining order in Redondo Beach.

Long Beach Superior Court, Civil Harassment Restraining Order sought by neighbor, Result: Restraining Order Quashed after hearing.

Norwalk Superior Court, Civil Harassment Restraining Order filed by neighbor following a physical confrontation, Result: TRO dropped in Court prior to hearing.

Pomona Superior Court, Los Angeles; Domestic Violence TRO sought by ex-girlfriend after break up, Result: TRO Quashed after Hearing by Judge.

CHARGES DISMISSED in a Los Angeles criminal prosecution of violation of Court Order in Torrance California.

Should you have the experience of having been served with a restraining order and need a good attorney to defend the case in Court contact Defense Attorney Matthew Ruff today for a consultation at 310-527-4100.

Contact Matthew J. Ruff Attorney at Law Today!

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