Civil Harassment Restraining Orders in California
This guide can help you:
- Follow the process to ask for a restraining order
- Ask to renew a restraining order
- Know what you must do if you received restraining order papers
- Find free resources for help with the process
There are different types of restraining orders. A civil harassment restraining order is against someone you are not closely related to or have not had an intimate relationship with. This includes a neighbor, a landlord, or a co-worker.
A civil harassment restraining order can be granted against someone who has harassed, stalked, threatened, or harmed another person emotionally or physically.
If you are 12 or older, you can ask for a restraining order on your own and without your parent's permission. In some cases, a judge may ask you to have a trusted adult help you in your case. If you are under 18, you can go to your local court's Self Help Center for help. For support and safety tips, you can chat at loveisrespect.org, text "LOVEIS" to 22522, or call 1-866-331-9474.
If you are 12 or older and someone has asked for a restraining order against you, you can go to court without a parent. In some situations, the judge may ask you to have a trusted adult help you in your case.
If you need a restraining order against someone you've dated or had an intimate relationship with, like a spouse or a partner, or a relative like a child, parent, or sibling, there are other types of restraining orders you can request.
What can a restraining order do?
A judge can grant a restraining order to protect someone, their family members and their pets. Once a judge grants a restraining order, the police can be called to enforce it.
A civil harassment restraining order can include these types of orders:
- No contact
- Not harass, stalk, threaten, or harm people protected by the order
- Stay away by a certain distance
- Cannot own or have firearms or ammunition
How do I ask for a civil harassment restraining order?
You will need to complete a few court forms. The forms will ask you to describe in detail the harassment, stalking, threats, or harm you experienced. If you want help with these forms, you can contact your local Self-Help Center. This guide will take you step-by-step through the process of asking for a restraining order. The whole process usually lasts a few weeks but can take a few months, depending on how complicated your case is.
What if someone asked for a restraining order against me?
If someone has filed court papers to ask for a civil harassment restraining order against you, carefully read over the papers you were given:
- If you were served with form CH-110, this means the judge granted a temporary restraining order against you. You must follow all the orders granted on form CH-110. If you don't, you could be arrested and charged with a crime.
- You will have a court date, which is listed on form CH-109. Make sure to go to your court date if you do not agree to the restraining order. At the court date, a judge will decide whether to grant a restraining order against you that can last up to five years.
This guide can help you figure out your options to "respond" and prepare for your case. Respond means to tell the judge if you agree or don't agree to the request for restraining order. You don't have to have a lawyer in this case, but if you want one you will need to hire one. You can also get free help from a court Self-Help Center.
Learn more about your next step
Ask for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order
Get step-by-step instructions for each part of the process
Respond to Civil Harassment Restraining Order papers
Get help understanding court papers you received and preparing for your court date.
Renew a restraining order
If you are still concerned for your safety or want your restraining order to stay in place, you have to “renew” it, which makes it last longer and gives it a new end date.