According to the Judicial Branch of California, civil harassment when a person is subject to unwanted behaviors from a person they are not romantically involved with. This can include distant relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and other individuals you know, but do not have a close, personal relationship with.
It is important to understand these laws if someone accuses you of such harassing behaviors. Here are a few key points to keep in mind.
How the law defines civil harassment
Harassment can encompass many behaviors, depending on the nature of the case. This can include stalking, threats, abuse, sexual assault, or other problematic behaviors.
According to the law, civil harassment involves unlawful violence, including assault and battery. It also includes credible threats of violence, which refers to threatening statements that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety. The person subject to these behaviors will feel extremely scared, annoyed, or harassed by the actions of the other person. Behaviors can occur in person, over the phone, via text, or via email.
The effects of restraining orders
The person can take their claim of harassment and request a restraining order to protect themselves. If the judge grants this order, the subject of the order is not permitted to do certain things. For example, the person cannot contact the person who filed, visit or call their home, or approach people who know the person that filed, such as relatives. They cannot go to the person’s home or school. Additionally, the subject of the restraining order cannot own a gun or have one in their possession.
Violating a restraining order can result in a few unwanted effects. In addition to receiving a fine, the person may also receive jail time, depending on the terms of the restraining order. Permanent restraining orders can last as long as five years.