Domestic Violence Emergency Orders Amid COVID-19 Related Court Closures
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, local courts have chosen to close or drastically limit some of their services. Effective April 3rd, the Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino, will reschedule all non-emergency matters. This could mean that if you have a pending court matter, you might be unable to file the papers at your local courthouse or even attend your court date if your matter is pending.
Matters That Will Be Rescheduled
According to a press release issued by the Superior Court, the following court matters will be rescheduled:
- Civil trials
- Jury trials
- Probate matters, with the exception of same-day emergency harassment orders, abuse orders, petitions for emergency guardianship or conservatorship, as well as LPS matters
- Small claim court motions, trials, and appeals
- Traffic and criminal matters, with the exception of in-custody matters, which includes arraignments as well as time sensitive preliminary hearings
- Hearings for family law, with the exception of same-day restraining orders or other emergency requests
- Delinquency and juvenile delinquency hearings, with the exception of detention hearings or emergency hearings that relate to health or safety along with emergency restraining orders
- All adoption proceedings
Domestic Violence Emergency Orders
The San Bernardino County Superior Court will continue to hear all emergency matters per the Implementation Order, which includes domestic violence restraining orders and emergency protective orders. Emergency protective orders are usually issued by California law enforcement officers. These orders can be issued when an officer asserts that there are reasonable grounds that lead him or her to believe that an individual is in an immediate or present danger of domestic assault.
Emergency protective orders go into effect soon after the judicial officer has validated the request of the law enforcement officer. These are usually valid for only seven calendar days or five business days. Emergency protective orders are intended to help the victim obtain protection while he or she files a petition for a domestic violence restraining order, which can sometimes last up to three years.
A family court can approve a filing for a restraining order from an individual who has been subjected to domestic violence. Given the recent court closures and delays, the court may conduct judicial proceedings and operations remotely.
What a Domestic Violence Order Can Do For You
The San Bernardino County Superior Court has determined that domestic violence proceedings are time-sensitive and are therefore an essential function of the court. As a result, if you are seeking an emergency domestic violence restraining order, your petition will be reviewed despite the unprecedented court closures.
A domestic violence restraining order can help you if:
- An individual has abused you or has threatened to abuse you; and
- You have a close relationship to that individual.
Close relationships can involve:
- Married couples,
- Registered domestic partners,
- Individuals who are separated or divorced,
- Individuals who are currently dating or used to date,
- Those who are currently living together or used to live together, or
- Those who are related, such as parents, children, siblings, grandparents, and in-laws.
Speak to a Well-Versed Family Law Attorney
An imperative right of every citizen in the State of California is an easy access to justice. The critical decision to place a limit on the functions within the courts is based on the effort to protect unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. In the midst of these court restrictions, domestic violence proceedings will continue to be processed.
If you or someone you know is in need of an emergency domestic violence order, it is important to understand that this is an emergency matter that will continue to be processed. If you need assistance in conducting court business remotely, you can visit the San Bernardino County Court website. A recent news release provided by the San Bernardino County Court offers more information on courthouse public hours of operation as well as a list of matters being heard. When seeking a domestic violence restraining order, consult the support of a well-versed attorney who can help you navigate the matter on a timely-basis.
The Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP attorneys understand that amid the coronavirus outbreak, the public’s health, safety, and well-being is of utmost priority. The firm understands that despite the growing concerns of the virus, many victims are continuously subjected to domestic violence. If you are in need of an emergency domestic violence order, speak to a law firm you can depend on during this crisis. The attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP are committed to helping their clients meet their needs through this difficult time. Consider contacting the firm today.