How Long Do Restraining Orders Last in California?

The length of time a restraining order will last in California varies widely depending on the type of protective order that is in place. These court orders are designed to prevent or change a defendant’s conduct and protect the complainant. Generally, when the defendant violates the terms of a restraining order, they can be found in contempt of court and face several penalties, including court fines and imprisonment.

What Is Restraining Order or Protective Order?

Restraining orders serve several purposes according to the California Courts Judicial Branch of California, including:

  • Ordering an individual to stop engaging in certain activities such as stocking, destroying private property, harassment, or contacting the protected party
  • Requiring the respondent to move out of the shared residence in specific types of cases
  • Keeping the respondent specified distance away from the protected, including requiring them to stay away from the alleged victim’s vehicle, home, school, or workplace

There Are Several Types Of Protective Orders in California

Multiple types of protective orders may be available based on the specific circumstances of your case. These include:

  • Workplace violence restraining orders if you are being abused, stocked, or harassed by a coworker
  • Domestic violence restraining orders if you are being abused by a family member or someone else you have a close relationship with under California Penal Code Section 136.2 PC
  • Civil harassment restraining orders if you are being harassed or abused by someone you do not have any relationship with
  • Elder or dependent abuse restraining orders for those who are physically or mentally incapacitated or age 65 or older who are enduring neglect or abuse by a caregiver under California Penal Code Section 368 PC

How Long Restraining Orders Last

The amount of time your restraining order lasts will vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of your case and the type of restraining order taken out.

Civil Harassment Restraining Order

When requesting a civil harassment restraining order, remember that your initial order will only be temporary. This is designed to protect you until your court hearing. If the judge determines additional protections are warranted, your civil harassment restraining order could last up to three years, according to the Orange County Superior Court if no end date is specified, or as much as five years. You may also be able to request a five-year extension or have your restraining order converted to a permanent order.

Elder Or Dependent Abuse Restraining Order

Generally, ex parte restraining orders for the elderly will only last until your court hearing. This can typically take as much as 25 days. However, if the court determines your dependent or elder abuse restraining order request should be approved, it can last up to five years, with room for extensions as described by the Orange County Superior Court.

Workplace Violence Restraining Order

In most cases, workplace violence restraining orders can be in place for a maximum of three years under Workplace Violence Protection Form WV-100-INFO. However, you may be able to request an extension should you still be in fear of the defendant.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

There are multiple types of domestic violence restraining orders. The type of restraining order in place in your case will determine how long it lasts. For example, emergency protective orders can only be in place for as long as five business days or a maximum of seven calendar days. Ex parte or temporary restraining orders are in place from the time when the domestic violence restraining order is requested, and you attend your in-court hearing.

Finally, restraining orders can officially last for up to five years according to the Judicial Council of California Form DV-500-INFO. It is important to note that if the court does not specify an end date for your restraining order, it will expire three years from the date of the order being implemented. if you request that the judge extend your restraining order it could be in place indefinitely or extended by another five years.