A Civil Harassment Restraining Order (CHRO) is a court order that helps to protect people from violence, threats of violence, serious harassment or stalking. It applies to strangers and people outside your immediate family or dating history. If you are related to the person harassing you, or if they are your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, ex-husband, ex-wife, ex-boyfriend, or ex-girlfriend, the law classifies such problems as potential domestic violence, and you should instead file for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.
HOW TO OBTAIN A CIVIL HARASSMENT RESTRAINING ORDER (CHRO)
To obtain a CHRO, you must fill out a “Request for Civil Harassment Restraining Orders” (Form CH-100) a “Confidential CLETS Information” (Form CLETS-001), a “Notice of Court Hearing” (Form CH-109), and a “Temporary Restraining Order” (Form CH-110). Submit the completed forms to the court clerk to give to the judge. The judge will then review the documents and decide whether to grant the TRO.
If your request for a CHRO is granted, a hearing will be set for you, the petitioner, and the respondent (the person to be restrained). This hearing will be either within 21 days, or if the court finds good cause, within 25 days after the temporary order was granted or denied. The restrained person must then be served with all the documents as instructed by the clerk.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT A CIVIL HARASSMENT RESTRAINING ORDER HEARING
At the hearing the petitioner will have to convince the court that a CHRO is necessary by proving the following elements which are set forth in the Code of California Civil Procedure section 527. 6.:
1) an ongoing “course of conduct,” which involves following, stalking or harassment,
2) a credible threat of violence which would cause apprehension in a reasonable person, and,
3) that said conduct caused the person seeking protection to suffer substantial emotional distress.
In addition, the petitioner must prove the matter by “clear and convincing proof,” meaning the petitioner must prove his or her facts in the case to be “highly probable.”
These elements can be satisfied by introducing photographs, text messages, e-mails or any other physical evidence that can support claims of harassment made by the petitioner. The best evidence, however, is a third-party witness who can testify to the harassment with first hand knowledge.
In addition to the physical and testimonial evidence, CHRO law permits the admission of hearsay evidence. Code of Civil Procedure Section 527.6(i) expressly provides that “at the hearing, the judge shall receive any testimony that is relevant and may make an independent inquiry.”
The 1st District Court of Appeal has held that hearsay evidence is admissible in a hearing for a permanent injunction under CCP Section 527.6. In Duronslet v. Kamps, 203 Cal. App. 4th 717 (2012), the court of appeal held that the CHRO statute “appears to be a statutory exception to the general rule” that hearsay is inadmissible because it allows for an application for a temporary restraining order to be issued based on a declaration that shows reasonable proof of harassment of the petitioner by the respondent, and that great or irreparable harm would result to the petitioner. It further held that the statute authorizes the trial court to admit hearsay during the hearing on the injunction because it requires the trial court to “receive any testimony that is relevant and authorized the court to make an independent inquiry.”
After the hearing “if the judge finds by clear and convincing evidence that unlawful harassment exists, an order shall issue prohibiting the harassment.” Code of Civil Procedure Section 527.6(i) Once that order is issued, the other party may not contact you or a member of your household, be within a certain vicinity of you, go to your workplace or school, and in some cases, may not possess a firearm.
DO YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY TO OBTAIN A CHRO?
The court process can be confusing and intimidating. You and the respondent will have to see each other in court, and both of you will have to tell the judge the details of your case in a public courtroom. Having an attorney can help make the process easier to handle and less stressful. To ensure the issuance of the CHRO and have the protection under the CHRO, it would be wise to have a skilled, knowledgeable attorney from Wallin and Klarich present your case to the judge.
WHAT TO DO IF THERE IS A CHRO AGAINST YOU?
If you are the subject of a CHRO, it is an extremely serious matter and you must be aware of your rights. You have the right to be notified of the petition, a right to a hearing, and the right to have an attorney represent you and protect your rights before, during, and after the hearing.
At Wallin and Klarich, we have an experienced team of criminal defense attorneys. We can help defend you or a loved one who might be involved in a restraining order case. It is important to meet with a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can help in your defense because a restraining order can seriously impact your life. It can potentially alter your contact with many people including your spouse, your children, family, and friends.
CONTACT WALLIN & KLARICH FOR A CHRO CONSULTATION TODAY
If you need protection from violence, threats of violence, serious harassment, or stalking, Wallin & Klarich can help you obtain a Civil Harassment Restraining Order (CHRO). At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 38 years of experience successfully defending our clients. We work tirelessly to give our clients the best possible chance at successfully getting the best outcome for your case.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance, and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (714) 730-5300 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.