The interpersonal relations of spouses, sexual partners, and families can become heavily charged with emotion and stress during economic and civil unrest. In some cases, this culminates in domestic abuse and violence—but there are always two sides to each story. Domestic violence restraining orders are not always distributed fairly, and they may be unjustly enforced if a defendant does not have a strong legal defense or is unaware of the requirements of the order.
Before the COVID-19 lockdowns, responding to accusations of domestic violence and restraining orders was a simple matter of filing paperwork and going to a court hearing. Today, the situation and rules have changed—leaving many uncertain how to respond without putting their safety at risk.
Cabin Fever: An Increased Risk of Domestic Violence
There is no question that being cooped up and isolated causes added stress to familial and interpersonal relations. This can be exasperated by financial difficulties caused by economic unrest like a recession. One of the best ways to resolve conflicts is to go out and “cool off” before continuing a discussion or settling an argument. Sadly, these days of isolation make that challenging to achieve for many—especially those who are at increased risk of illness, or who live with elderly family members who may be at risk themselves.
With that in mind, there are some steps you can take to help relieve tension in your household and avoid blowups:
- Set aside time to be alone: Everyone needs a little bit of space to think, reflect, and gather their thoughts. Being in the proximity of others all the time can make this challenging, so it is always good to arrange spaces and times where each person can be alone.
- Be mindful of others: Most people have things that tend to “set them off,” and it is good advice for each person in the house to be mindful of others and avoid situations that might cause a disturbance.
- Take frequent walks when possible: Even if it is only walking around the block or sitting outside in the backyard, going outdoors can help relieve tension.
In addition to focusing on keeping calm and collected, there may be online resources available. Many health insurance policies have made adjustments that include TeleHealth, which allow patients to receive medical diagnoses and referrals online, as well as coverage for mental health. Speaking to a professional can prove extremely effective at dealing with emotional turmoil and avoiding a violent outburst.
What to Do if You Receive a Restraining Order
If you receive a temporary restraining order, we recommend you follow these steps:
- Follow the order precisely: A restraining order exists to protect the plaintiff and violating the order (whether it is justified or not) can result in jail time and cause significant damage to your case. It is critical to follow the order upon receipt and continue to do so until it is lifted. This may include changing your residence and avoiding locations where you may encounter the plaintiff.
- Contact an attorney: The laws that relate to domestic abuse can be complicated, and how you position your case is critical. Retaining an experienced domestic violence attorney can help make sure you take the right actions, say the right things, or even have the entire case and restraining order dismissed.
- File a response: Despite the courts being closed for in-person hearings, you can still file a response to the restraining order to present your side of the story. The court will then give you instructions as to how to proceed and how quickly you can expect a response from the judge.
We cannot stress enough the importance of conducting yourself per the restrictions imposed by a restraining order. Regardless of the strain and personal difficulties a restraining order may bring, your actions must not hinder your case.
Many restraining orders are overturned by following the correct processes, and even in these challenging times of mandatory isolation, you always have a chance of winning your case—but only by following the rules.
Fighting Against a Restraining Order
If you have received a restraining order, do not hesitate to contact an Orange County criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti. Our legal team can review your case, explain to you your rights under the law, and advocate against the restraining order’s restrictions. To learn more about your legal options, call us at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free (888) 478-8999. We offer a free consultation and can help you sort through this situation while maintaining safe practices during the pandemic.