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PROTECTIVE ORDER VS. RESTRAINING ORDER CALIFORNIAIf you’re living in California and you need protection from someone who’s harming you, you might be hearing the terms “protective order” and “restraining order” being used interchangeably. However, these two types of orders are actually legally separate and distinct, and they are issued in either criminal or civil matters.

Both protective orders and restraining orders are designed to safeguard individuals from harmful conduct like:

  • Harassment
  • Physical abuse
  • Stalking
  • Threats

The specific order will dictate exactly what type of behavior is prohibited and what’s allowed. However, it’s likely that the order will include provisions that the restrained party should avoid any form of contact with the protected individual.

Now, “contact” can be defined in various ways, including:

  • Being physically close to the protected individual (i.e. coming within a certain distance of that person).
  • Making phone calls, sending text messages or emails to them.
  • Interacting with them through social networking sites such as Facebook.
  • Engaging in any kind of surveillance or stalking.

All of these actions can be considered a breach of the protective or restraining order, so it’s crucial that the restrained party follows the order’s provisions to the letter.

So if you or someone close to you needs protection from someone else’s harmful behavior, it’s important to understand the difference between these two types of orders and which one might be the best fit for your specific circumstances.


By getting either a protective or restraining order, you can obtain the protection and security you need to feel safe and secure. Keep reading to learn more about each of these orders and what they entail.


If you’re being harassed or stalked by someone who’s repeatedly calling you or making threats, you can file a civil restraining order against them. You’ll need to go to civil court and ask the judge to grant the order, which will prevent the individual from contacting or coming near you. Before the hearing, you can also try to obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO), which will provide immediate protection while you wait for the final hearing.

Violating a restraining order can become a CRIMINAL MATTER. This means that if the person subject to the restraining order violates it in any way, they can be charged with a criminal offense. This violation can be reported to the police, who can then take action and potentially arrest the violator. The violator may face criminal charges and could be fined or even sent to jail for violating the restraining order.

On the other hand, a PROTECTIVE ORDER is a legal tool used in criminal cases. Let’s take an example of a domestic violence case, the judge and prosecutor may request a protective order to protect the victim during the case proceedings. This order is issued by the criminal court and aims to protect the victim by prohibiting the accused from any contact with the victim or from going near their residence or workplace. The protective order typically remains in effect until the case is resolved in court. Violating a protective order can result in criminal charges and severe legal consequences.


When a judge issues a protective order, it means that you are involved in a criminal case as the defendant. The judge wants to make sure that you are protected while the case is ongoing.


PROTECTIVE AND RESTRAINING ORDERS in California can have different expiration dates depending on the circumstances.

Temporary restraining orders (TROs) are typically issued in emergency situations and can last for up to 25 days. They are designed to provide immediate protection for the victim while a more permanent solution is sought.

Permanent restraining orders can last for up to five years, and in some cases, even longer. The length of time the order will remain in effect depends on various factors, including the type of order and the specific circumstances of the case.

In cases of domestic violence, protective orders can be issued for longer periods of time, up to 10 years. The length of the order can also be extended if the victim can show that there is still a risk of harm after the order has expired.

It’s important to note that even if a restraining or protective order expires, the individual subject to the order is still prohibited from engaging in any behavior that was prohibited by the order. Violating an expired order can still result in criminal charges.


If someone is charged with violating Penal Code 273.6 (Disobeying a Domestic Relations Court Order), a Los Angeles restraining order lawyer can use a legal defense to potentially reduce or dismiss the charges. There are three common defenses that can be used:

  • Lack of knowledge – this defense argues that the defendant did not have knowledge of the restraining order that they allegedly violated. If they can prove they were unaware of the order, they cannot be convicted of intentionally breaking it.
  • Lack of intent – this defense acknowledges that the defendant may have violated the order, but argues that it was not done intentionally. For example, they may have accidentally come into contact with the person who filed the order.
  • False allegations – unfortunately, false accusations do occur, and this defense argues that the allegations made against the defendant are untrue. If they can prove that someone lied about them violating the order, this can help their case.


Contact Los Angeles restraining order attorney Cyrus Tabibnia to discuss your situation and how he can help. He has experience representing clients in restraining order cases and other family law matters.

Restraining and protective orders can significantly impact your rights and well-being, and an experienced criminal defense attorney will advocate for your best interests. Contact Cyrus at 866-713-2159 for a consultation.

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Tabibnia Law Firm retains years of experience successfully representing individuals charged with misdemeanor and felony crimes,Theft Crimes, Crime Against Children, Driving Crimes, Rape Crimes, driving under the influence (DUIs), domestic violence cases, drug possession cases, state and federal crimes, white color crimes, driving on a suspended license offenses, violent crimes, sex crimes, Forgery and all other criminal defense cases throughout Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Orange County, San Fernando Valley, Ventura County, Riverside County, San Bernardino, Van Nuys, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California. Call for a consultation today: 866-713-2159

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