What Is Civil Harassment?
If a person is seeking a restraining order against another person who is not related by blood or whom the person does live with, they can seek a civil remedy under the code of civil procedure section 527.6. This remedy will assist a person who is being harassed or is in fear of physical harm from another person.
The person must have suffered some form of harassment and prove to the court that there was a “course of conduct” and “credible threat of violence.”
To prove a course of conduct that will fall under CCP 526.7 the party must show a pattern of behavior which repeats itself as a series of acts over a period of time. This can be shown through stalking an individual or making harassing telephone calls to the party. In addition, sending harassing correspondence to an individual by via public or private mail. Also faxing or emailing another person can be a form of harassment if shown to be done repetitiously over a period of time.
“Credible threat of violence” is a knowing and willful statement or course of conduct that would place a reasonable person in fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her immediate family, and that serves no legitimate purpose.
Harassment is unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence, that is knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose.
The course of conduct must be that which would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and must actually cause substantial emotional distress to the petitioner.
In order for the restraining order to take effect a party needs file a petition with the court. They must request orders in accordance with CCP Section 527 which is the code section that deals with injunctive relief.
A temporary restraining order may be issued with or without notice, based on a declaration that, shows reasonable proof of harassment of the moving party by the alleged perpetrator, and that great or irreparable harm would result to the petitioner.
A person subject to a protective order issued under this section shall not own, possess, purchase, receive, or attempt to purchase or receive a firearm or ammunition while the protective order is in effect.
If party is issued a restraining order against them then they must relinquish any firearm they have. They cannot purchase a firearm or keep one at home. Once the order is terminated, they then can possess the firearms again.
Burden Of Proof
The domestic violence restraining order can be filed in family court and the party has a lesser showing for the burden of proof. They only have to show a preponderance of the evidence to get a restraining order. However, in a civil harassment restraining order hearing the burden of proof is clear and convincing evidence. This is a much higher threshold to prove to the court that there as some form of harassment.