Domestic Violence Orders vs. Restraining Orders

Hundreds of thousands of Californians are victims of domestic violence every year, enduring physical, sexual, or emotional abuse at the hands of someone close to them. Standing up to the abuser and taking action to remove themselves from an abusive relationship can be almost as frightening as the abuse itself.

If you or a loved one is in an abusive domestic relationship, we can help, starting with obtaining a domestic violence order or restraining order to force your abuser to stay at a safe distance.

For more than 20 years, The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer has helped victims of domestic violence in San Jose and Morgan Hill, California and surrounding communities take those first steps toward safety and guided them throughout the legal journey.


Under California’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act, “abuse” means:

  • To intentionally or recklessly cause or attempt to cause bodily injury.
  • Sexual assault.
  • To place a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another.
  • To engage in any behavior that has been or could be enjoined, including molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, harassing, disturbing your peace, or destroying your property.

The abuse can be actual or threatened. In either case, obtaining the appropriate restraining order against the abuser is the first step toward regaining control of your life.


A domestic violence order is a court order issued to protect someone being abused or in imminent danger of abuse from someone they have a close relationship with. “Close relationship” includes:

  • Married or domestic partners;
  • Divorced or separated;
  • Dating or used to date;
  • Living together or used to live together as more than roommates;
  • Parents together of a child; or,
  • Closely related (parent, child, sibling, grandparent, in-law).

You can also file for a domestic violence order on behalf of your child.

There are four types of domestic violence orders:

  1. An emergency protective order must be requested by law enforcement. It takes effect immediately and remains in effect for seven days.
  2. You can file for a temporary restraining order which typically lasts for 20 to 25 days or until a court date during which you can request a permanent restraining order.
  3. A permanent restraining order lasts for up to five years. Upon expiration, you can request another one if you still need protection.
  4. In some situations, a prosecuting attorney will file criminal charges against the abuser and ask the court to issue a criminal protective order or “stay-away” order. The order will remain in effect throughout the course of a criminal trial and if the defendant is found or pleads guilty, for three years after the judgment.


If an abused person doesn’t have a close relationship with their abuser, such as a neighbor, roommate, stranger, or distant relative, they can file for a civil harassment restraining order against the person who is abusing or threatening to abuse them.

A personal conduct order can force the abuser to stop the abusive acts against the protected person. Those acts include phone, email, or other contact, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, striking, harassing, destroying property, and disturbing the peace.

A stay-away order orders the abuser to stay beyond a designated distance (100 yards, for example) from the protected person, their home, workplace, vehicle, their children’s schools or activities, and other places the protected person frequents.


When your life or the life of someone close to you is endangered by an abusive person, you deserve protection. But you don’t have to navigate the process of obtaining restraining/protective orders on your own. We can help you put the distance you need between you and your abuser.

At The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer, we provide compassionate, experienced legal expertise to protect the abused from the abuser. If you live in San Jose or Morgan Hill, California, or in Fremont, Hayworth, Pleasanton, or Alameda or Santa Clara counties, call for a free consultation and get started taking your life back.

Recent Posts