Emergency Protective Order

An emergency protective order against you is not to be taken lightly. When this type of order is issued, complying would be your best option. These types of orders can be requested by a law enforcement officer and violating it can lead to an arrest. If you are facing this type of protective order, getting legal advice and the help of a professional defense attorney should be your next step.

For a deeper understanding of what this type of order means, let’s take a look at how California defines it.

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What is an Emergency Protective Order?

An emergency protective order or EPO is a temporary protective order that can last for seven days. This order is requested by a law enforcement officer and approved by a judge. They are more commonly issued in domestic violence cases, spousal abuse, child abuse, elderly abuse, or abduction cases.

If a victim in a domestic violence or abuse case fears they are in immediate danger, they can call law enforcement and ask for an emergency protective order. Because these orders only last for one calendar week, it is referred to as a short-term protective order. These orders are also meant to protect any family or household members that could be in danger. The victim who is asking for an EPO is referred to as a protected person and their family members are known as protected people in the order.

Unlike other temporary restraining orders (TRO) or permanent restraining orders, an EPO can be requested by any law enforcement officer responding to the call. For example, if the victim in a domestic violence situation calls 911 for help and asks that a member of law enforcement get them an EPO, the order can take effect immediately. However, the officer must validate the request by determining whether the victim is actually under physical danger from the aggressor. If the officer recognizes that an EPO is necessary, they will issue the protective order right away. This means the abuser must leave the home and stay away from the victim, the victim’s family and/or household members, and even their pets.

Since an EPO can begin so quickly, it is the shortest running protective order in California. After the one-week or seven-day mark, the protected party in the EPO can submit further official court documents to extend a protective order. It would most likely be a different type, such as TRO which can last much longer than several days.

What are the penalties for an EPO violation?

There are specific facts that must be proven for the defendant to have violated a protective or restraining order. These factors are: 

  • The defendant was named in a lawfully issued EPO and ordered to stay away from the alleged abused victim,
    • This means they must stay away from the victim’s home, workplace, immediate family members, and/or household members.
  • The defendant knew about the court-ordered, lawful EPO,
  • The defendant had the present ability to follow it,
  • Yet, they still chose to willfully violate the EPO.

The penalties for violating an emergency protective order are similar to the legal punishments for violating a long-term restraining order. The potential consequences for any violation of the protective order include:


A potential one year sentence in county jail, and/or

Fines of up to one thousand dollars.

For a subsequent offense where violence was involved, the defendant could face a misdemeanor with the maximum legal punishments OR a:


A possible state prison sentence of up to ten years, and/or

As much as ten thousand dollars in fines.

Can I keep my guns?

Anyone who is named as the aggressor, abuser, or defendant in an EPO, TRO, or other protective or restraining order will lose their right to own, acquire, possess, or purchase a firearm.

Violating this will result in legal consequences outlined under Penal Code (PC) 29825. The defendant can face the following penalties:


As long as one year in county jail, and/or

A fine of up to one thousand dollars.


A possible three years in county jail or state prison, and/or

Up to one thousand dollars in fines.

It’s important to note, these penalties can be stacked with other legal punishments the defendant may be facing. For instance, if the defendant involved in an elderly abuse case violated an EPO and continues to possess a firearm, not only will they face the penalties for violating a lawfully issued protective order, but they can also face additional criminal penalties as stated under California PC 29825.

Closest Related Order

Criminal Protective Order or CPO;

A CPO is requested by the district attorney (D.A.) involved in the criminal case and is granted by a judge. There are two types of CPOs, a “no-contact” order and a “peaceful contact” order. The first means that the aggressive party named in the order is prohibited from making contact with the protected person. The latter allows for limited or peaceful contact between the protected person and the individual named in the order.

Similar Orders

There are several types of temporary restraining orders or TROs. Although they are similar to protective orders, there are differences in what they cover and how they are implemented.

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)

A judge will grant a TRO request right away or within 24 hours of the request if they deem the protected party needs one issued. A TRO can last for up to thirty days, for the duration of the court proceedings, or it can be extended or replaced with a permanent restraining order.

Permanent Restraining Orders

These types of restraining orders can be granted by a California judge only after going through the full hearing process. They can last for as long as five years and can be renewed by a judge for another five years after going through another hearing. These are considered comprehensive, long-term restraining orders. A judge will grant the request if they deem the victim or protected person(s) is under a serious or sustained threat from the aggressor, abuser, or defendant.

Were you served with an emergency protective order?

If you were issued an emergency protective order, you should act within your own interests and abide by it. This means leaving the scene and staying away from the protected party for as long as the order states. Acting out of anger or frustration and ignoring the stipulations of the order will only make the case worse for you.

To alleviate any stress, finding trusted legal representation should be your priority. A criminal defense attorney would be familiar with EPOs, TROs, and any related protective or restraining orders. An experienced defense lawyer will understand what steps are necessary to ensure your rights are not being violated.

Once an EPO has been issued and run its course, continuing to stay away from the alleged abuse victim would be in your best interest. Especially if the case is ongoing, or the protected person feels they need to request another TRO against you. Following the EPO even after it expires will help your case because both you and the alleged victim will have a chance to present your cases before a judge within thirty days. From there, the judge can decide whether any type of protective or restraining order is still necessary.

We Can Help

Were you or someone you care about served with an EPO, TRO, or similar protective or restraining order? If you are located in the greater San Diego area, Los Angeles, or Orange County and need legal assistance, contact the Law Offices of Anna R. Yum. As a highly recommended criminal defense lawyer, Attorney Yum knows what is a stake. She will fight to make sure your rights are being upheld.

Attorney Yum is an experienced legal professional who is familiar with how the prosecution works and understands what needs to be done to protect yourself from the harshest legal punishments. Do not allow frustration or anger to overwhelm you, call us and let us help.

You can call 619-233-4433 to schedule a consultation or use our convenient online contact form. We welcome all inquiries and are here to aid you in any legal matters you could be facing.