San Fernando Valley Domestic Violence Lawyer
Protecting You & Your Family
If you or a loved one has been the victim of domestic violence, the first and most important thing you can do is to call the police. Not reporting domestic violence or spousal abuse can result in further injury to you or your loved one. You do not have to risk your life any longer and do not have to put up with the abuse or harassment you have been victimized by. A San Fernando Valley domestic violence attorney may be able to make a positive difference in your life by assisting you in dealing with this situation.
Domestic violence is defined as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse between family members or cohabitants (people that share a residence). It may also include neglect or child endangerment. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to file for a restraining order or order of protection against your abuser. This will prohibit any contact from the abuser, including banning him or her from coming within a certain distance of you and possibly your children.
Types of Domestic Violence
When emotions are running high and words are flying fast, hurtful things can be said, or even worse, violent actions can be experienced. Though most people think domestic abuse only occurs when violent physical action influences another person, domestic violence can manifest itself in several forms, like emotional abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, and psychological abuse. There is no form less damaging than the other.
Emotionally abusive relationships can be just as hurtful as physical abuse. If your domestic partner or spouse calls you names; insults you; criticizes you; controls your friends, money, and who you spend time with; threatens to hurt you, children, pets, or your family; or humiliates you in any way; you may be a victim of an emotionally abusive domestic relationship. It may be in your best interest to seek professional medical treatment and emergency legal assistance.
Physically abusive relationships are probably the most commonly known type of domestic violence, but can be experienced in less obvious ways. If your domestic partner or spouse damaged property when angry or upset, abandoned you in a dangerous area, scared you by driving recklessly, forced you to leave your own home, prevented you from calling for assistance, or hurt your children, you may be a victim of a physically abusive relationship. Seeking legal help, medical attention, and contacting law enforcement authorities could protect your life and your child's life.
Much like physical and emotional abuse, sexual domestic violence can manifest in ways that are not at first expected. If your domestic partner or spouse accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your relationships, views the opposite sex as mere objects, forces you to dress in sexual ways, ignores your feelings regarding sex, or manipulates you into having sex, you may be a victim of a sexually abusive relationship. Law enforcement agencies should be notified immediately, and contacting a legal representative could ensure your safety and well-being.
Obviously, domestic violence has repercussions far beyond the physical manifestations of bumps, bruises, or cuts. Domestic violence has the potential to rip families apart, to eternally scar someone emotionally, psychologically, and sexually. If you find yourself being a victim of domestic abuse, do not hesitate to contact Cutter & Lax Attorneys at Law. With over 30 years of dedicated service to our clients in family law, we are committed to your safety and well-being. In addition to this, Attorney Nelson Cutter is a former JAG Officer and a Retired Reservist with Prior Enlisted Experience, so he understands your need for justice to be served swiftly.
Restraining Orders in the San Fernando Valley
Victims of domestic violence, spousal abuse or harassment have the legal right to file a restraining order against the person who has been abusing, stalking, or otherwise injuring them. There are several different types of restraining orders which may all apply to a person's situation in a different way. A lawyer at Cutter & Lax Attorneys at Law can work to review your case and determine what type of restraining order you may qualify for. Your immediate protection is very important, and we can fight to get a temporary or long-term restraining order to protect you.
How Do Restraining Orders Work in California?
Restraining orders, also known as protective orders, are court orders barring someone from having any contact with a named person or from visiting a certain location. Restraining orders are usually issued once an alleged victim files documents with the court seeking a restraining order. A restraining order is normally granted due to threats of physical violence, harassment, stalking or domestic abuse.
There are four types of restraining orders, given for differing reasons:
- Civil Harassment Restraining Orders - This restraining order could be used for protection from neighbors, roommates, or co-workers. It is not for protection against a close family member.
- Criminal Protective Orders - A protective order is an order issued by a Judge to protect a witness or victim of a crime. They are usually associated with domestic violence.
- Domestic Violence Prevention Act Restraining Orders - This order protects you from physical violence, a verbal threat, or harassing behavior by someone the person wanting protection is close to via marriage, a relative, an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. It is only valid for three weeks; however, it can be made permanent for up to three years in specific circumstances.
- Emergency Protective Order - These are for emergency situations. If you are in danger, you can ask a law enforcement officer to request one of these from a Judge. An Emergency Protective Order is only good for 5 court days or 7 calendar days.
If you or a loved one has been threatened or harmed, you should contact one of our lawyers about a restraining order. A restraining order is a civil action that will clearly state what type of contact, if any, will be permitted between the person who made threats or committed violence against another person.
Often in domestic violence situations a restraining order is the most effective method of preventing the perpetrator from coming within a certain distance of their home, work, or school. Use of restraining orders is the best way to help prevent any further instances of violence or threats.
Obtaining Temporary Restraining Orders
A temporary restraining order (TRO) is a type of restraining order issued for a short term only; it normally lasts only until the court can hear further evidence and decide if there is sufficient evidence to actually move forward in further legal action. It can be granted to the party asking for it without advance warning to the party to whom the temporary restraining order is directed. The order is granted to prevent the perpetrator from somehow preventing the other party from actually being able to file the temporary restraining order, as it is often the case that the victim may be otherwise harmed.
Usually, restraining orders are not permanent—most are temporary. They exist because of the need for immediate action to prevent further harassment or even injury. A permanent restraining order can take months or years because it involves a full hearing, but an initial restraining order can be rapidly obtained and lasts only until both parties can appear in court, usually in a few days.
Restraining Order FAQ
Do I need a restraining order?
If you have been the victim of abuse, harassment, physical violence, stalking, or threats, you might be in need of a restraining order to protect you and your family. It is best to contact an experienced restraining order attorney to have him determine what is best for your situation.
How long does a restraining order last in California?
The duration of a restraining order depends on the type. For example, a temporary restraining order typically lasts between 20 and 25 days, or until the court date. A permanent restraining order isn’t really permanent—it usually lasts up to 5 years. However, if you still need protection, you can request a new one once it expires.
What happens if someone violates a restraining order?
Should the individual who has been issued a restraining order intentionally and knowingly violate its conditions, it is punishable as a misdemeanor that could land that person in jail for up to a year, earn a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Is it hard to get a restraining order against someone?
Restraining orders are issued civilly and can be sought after by people who believe they are victims of crime, violence, or harassment. The alleged victim must first file for and receive a temporary restraining order with the assistance of an attorney. Temporary restraining orders are generally granted and do not require a high burden of proof. A hearing will later be scheduled to determine if there is sufficient evidence to grant a permanent one.
What if I have been falsely accused of harassing someone?
If you find yourself in this situation, Cutter & Lax Attorneys at Law strongly recommends hiring a law firm to defend you and review your options before the matter worsens. If a restraining order is issued, you need a representative at the restraining order hearing. You have the right defend yourself by testifying and calling witnesses and your attorney can cross examine the person who has brought the restraining order to court. You need a professional to have a proper defense prepared against the allegations.
Experience You Can Count On
At Cutter & Lax Attorneys at Law, we understand this time in your life can be emotionally charged. If a spouse has abused you or a family member, you deserve justice—and our firm can help you achieve that. Divorce proceedings can be difficult enough, especially when you are looking to place criminal charges against someone. Our firm can assist you. We offer free case evaluations to all potential clients and the opportunity to speak directly to the lawyer who will be assisting your case.