If You Have Been Accused of Domestic Violence

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CoupleIn California, the court can try to stop repeated acts of violence and sexual abuse by issuing Restraining Orders. These are enforced by the police, and provide a separation of the people involved that is long enough for these people to try to deal with the causes of the violence.

If you have been accused of domestic violence and the court has been asked to issue a Restraining Order against you, the consequences can be very severe.

  • You will not be able to go to certain places or to do certain things.
  • You might have to move out of your home.
  • It may affect your ability to see your children.
  • You will generally not be able to own a gun.

If you violate the Orders, you may go to jail, or pay a fine, or both.

Telling your side of the story in Court

If you want the chance to tell your side of the story in court, you should prepare and file a Response (answer) ON TIME, and go to the court on the date set for your hearing.

At this website you will find information about what to do:

This section called "Before Going to Court" provides information about Restraining Orders to help you decide what to do.

This section called "Responding to a Domestic Violence Case" provides information on how to respond and how to navigate the court process.

This section called "After the Court Hearing" provides information about what is required by law after receiving the final ruling and what to do if things change.

To read an information sheet called "How Can I Respond to a Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order?" (DV-120-INFO) in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese, click on the language you need:

Please note:

  • Some words have special meanings when used by the court. If you click on a word that is in blue with this symbol (example default Opens new
    window), a new window will open and it will give you an explanation of what the word means.
  • We also have some videos that may help you understand this information. If you see this link (exampleShow Me | Tell Me”) Opens new window you can click on this link which will take you to a page with video and audio files that you can watch and/or listen to on your computer.
  • Finally, most people have lots of questions about domestic violence cases.  For this reason, we have created a list of Frequently Asked Questions, and a section with the forms you will need for your case.
  • To get the information you need, you can click on the section name that is in blue, use the “drop down” menu at the left side of each page, or you can click on the “Next” button at the bottom of some pages.

To view some short videos with general information about how California's court system works, click here. Opens new window


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