How Do I Get a Restraining Order?

If you are in an abusive relationship, and it has reached a point of danger, you may need to seek a restraining order, also known as a protection order. With an order, it is a crime for an abusive partner to come near or contact you in any way, including seeing you in person, calling, emailing, texting, posting on social media, visiting you at work or school, or coming to your house.

You will have a much better chance of obtaining a restraining order within Marin County if you call us and have a Center for Domestic Peace Legal Services Advocate assist you. We offer legal advocacy within the civil and criminal justice system, improving your ability to achieve effective results with restraining orders, police reports, and more.

Call Center for Domestic Peace’s 24-HOUR HOTLINE:

415-924-6616 (English/Linea de apoyo)

You can also call:



Click here to learn about your rights


1. Why should I get a restraining order?

There are many ways a protection order can bring some security and peace of mind to anyone suffering from partner abuse. For example, restraining orders can encourage law enforcement (and school officials) to help protect you from the abuser. This way, they do not have to wait for the abuser to cause harm, physical or otherwise, before calling the police. It also allows for a police officer to come directly to your home as soon as the abuser makes contact in any way. They also help assist with getting custody and visitation orders that protect your children and may be able to force the abuser to move out of a shared home.

Despite all they can do, restraining orders cannot guarantee your safety or change an abusive partner. They cannot guarantee the abuser will not intimidate, harass or scare you, or that they will be out of your life, especially if a child is involved.

2. What is an Emergency Protective Order (EPO)

You have the right to request an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) from the police. An EPO is a legal document prohibiting your abuser from contacting you in any way, whether your abuser was arrested.  If the police don’t offer you an EPO, you can visit the police station later to get one. An EPO is available 24 hours a day and is good for 5 business days and can include temporary custody orders if you have children.  Only a police officer (with the approval of a judge) can obtain an EPO, so you will need to tell the officer what the abuser did to you and why you are afraid. The EPO is designed to provide you with immediate legal protection until you can obtain a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from the courts.

3. What is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)

You do not need to contact the police if you would like to get a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

  1. If you would like to speak to a lawyer, call: FAMILY AND CHILDREN’S LAW CENTER:  415-492-9230
  2. If you would like to just get the forms, call: LEGAL SELF-HELP CENTER OF MARIN: 415-444-7130

You have the right to go the Superior Court and request an order that will:

  •         Restrain your abuser from abusing you and other family members
  •         Direct your abuser to leave the household (The abuser can be ordered to move out while the police stand by.)
  •         Prevent your abuser from getting near you or your residence, school, or workplace
  •         Prohibit your abuser from communicating with you directly, in writing, or through other people
  •         Determine custody of the children, visitation, and child support
  •         Eliminate many ways for your abuser to kidnap the children
  •         Prevent your abuser from manipulating you by using Immigration
  •         Direct the abuser to make reimbursements for damages related to the abuse
  •         Order your abuser to attend classes to learn how to stop their violence

The Temporary Restraining Order lasts between 2 and 3 weeks, until the day of the hearing, when a judge can turn it into a “permanent” restraining order that lasts up to 5 years.

4. What is a Criminal Protective Order?

A Criminal Protective Order is an order a judge makes to protect a witness or victim of a crime. It tells the restrained person to stay away from and not to hurt, threaten, or communicate with the other person. It is often issued after an Emergency Protective Order.

To get a Protective Order, the District Attorney must show the court the defendant has:

  • Hurt you,
  • Made you feel afraid,
  • Tried to get you to not testify, or
  • Threatened to do any of these things.

It may be issued by the judge after the defendant (the restrained person) is arrested, charged or found guilty of certain crimes against the victim. The case is filed by the District Attorney on behalf of the People of the State of California.

If the District Attorney declines to file charges against the other party, there are other types of Protective Orders that you can file on your own, see above.

How Do I get a Restraining Order?

You will have a much better chance of obtaining a restraining order if you call us and have a C4DP Advocate assist you.

For Appointment call C4DP’s 24-HOUR HOTLINE:  

415-924-6616 ( 24-hour hotline / Línea directa las 24 horas)