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Emergency Protective Order (EPO) in California

An emergency protective order, or EPO, is a court-ordered command, which is issued through a law enforcement officer, to a person that is suspected of committing domestic violence and/or abuse against another person. The EPO instructs the domestic violence suspect that she must not come within a certain distance of her alleged victim and that she must not threaten, assault, harass, annoy, or contact her alleged domestic violence victim (other orders may be included). The EPO is issued in emergency situations where a regular temporary or permanent domestic violence restraining order is not yet in place.


Example: If husband’s wife physically assaults husband without legal consent or legal justification, then husband might contact law enforcement to file a police report against wife for domestic violence (DV). At the time of husband’s report, law enforcement might issue an EPO against wife so that husband has some legal protections before he has a chance to file for a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) in family law court.


Note: The EPO is not intended to last more than a few days. The EPO is intended to give temporary and emergency protection to an alleged domestic violence victim so that the alleged victim has protection until he can file for a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO).

Example: If boyfriend obtains an EPO against his ex-girlfriend after girlfriend’s assault and battery on boyfriend, but boyfriend does not follow up and pursue a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) against girlfriend, the boyfriend’s EPO will expire within a few days.


CPO, DVRO, & EPO Differences


As stated, an EPO is a temporary order of restraint in a domestic violence case. However, there are several other types of restraining orders that are might be related to an EPO. A DVRO, or domestic violence restraining order, is an order of restraint that is similar to an EPO, but which is issued, if at all, only after a court-hearing on the DV issues. For more information on DVROs, including temporary and permanent DVRO, see DVRO. A CPO, or criminal protective order, is an order of restraint issued in a criminal case. A CPO does not have to be related to a domestic violence allegation. Also, a CPO may be issued against a criminal defendant regardless of whether or not the alleged victim takes any affirmative action to create the CPO.


Example: If husband physical abuses his wife, the wife might receive court-ordered protection against her husband in several forms: An EPO, issued immediately after husband’s physical abuse; a DVRO, issued at court by a family law judge; and a CPO, issued at criminal court against husband based on the criminal allegations of physical abuse against wife (i.e. PC 243(e)(1), PC 273.5(a) charges, etc.).


Selected Legal References for EPO Law


FL 6250, FL 6250.5, FL 6251, FL 6252


FL 6250: A judicial officer may issue an ex parte emergency protective order where a law enforcement officer asserts reasonable grounds to believe any of the following:


(a) That a person is in immediate and present danger of domestic violence, based on the person’s allegation of a recent incident of abuse or threat of abuse by the person against whom the order is sought.


(b) That a child is in immediate and present danger of abuse by a family or household member, based on an allegation of a recent incident of abuse or threat of abuse by the family or household member.


(c) That a child is in immediate and present danger of being abducted by a parent or relative, based on a reasonable belief that a person has an intent to abduct the child or flee with the child from the jurisdiction or based on an allegation of a recent threat to abduct the child or flee with the child from the jurisdiction.


(d) That an elder or dependent adult is in immediate and present danger of abuse as defined in Section 15610.07 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, based on an allegation of a recent incident of abuse or threat of abuse by the person against whom the order is sought, except that no emergency protective order shall be issued based solely on an allegation of financial abuse.


FL 6250.5: A judicial officer may issue an ex parte emergency protective order (EPO) to a peace officer defined in subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 830.32 if the issuance of that order is consistent with an existing memorandum of understanding between the college or school police department where the peace officer is employed and the sheriff or police chief of the city in whose jurisdiction the peace officer’s college or school is located and the peace officer asserts reasonable grounds to believe that there is a demonstrated threat to campus safety.


FL 6251: An emergency protective order (EPO) may be issued only if the judicial officer finds both of the following:


(a) That reasonable grounds have been asserted to believe that an immediate and present danger of domestic violence exists, that a child is in immediate and present danger of abuse or abduction, or that an elder or dependent adult is in immediate and present danger of abuse as defined in Section 15610.07 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.


(b) That an emergency protective order is necessary to prevent the occurrence or recurrence of domestic violence, child abuse, child abduction, or abuse of an elder or dependent adult.


FL 6252: An emergency protective order (EPO) may include any of the following specific orders, as appropriate:


(a) A protective order, as defined in Section 6218.


(b) An order determining the temporary care and control of any minor child of the endangered person and the person against whom the order is sought.


(c) An order authorized in Section 213.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, including provisions placing the temporary care and control of the endangered child and any other minor children in the family or household with the parent or guardian of the endangered child who is not a restrained party.


(d) An order determining the temporary care and control of any minor child who is in danger of being abducted.


(e) An order authorized by Section 15657.03 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.


For more information on emergency protective orders (EPO), or domestic violence restraining orders (DVRO), contact our divorce and family law attorneys for a free in-office, first visit consultation. We have offices in Redlands and San Bernardino and we serve all San Bernardino family law court, including San Bernardino Historic Court, Child Support Court, and Barstow Family law Court. Call today.


909-725-8199


Note: Information provided herein is made available for information purposes only. While we strive to keep content current and accurate, we do not guarantee that the content is current or accurate as the law is always changing. No attorney – client relationship is created by use of this information. If you are in need of a divorce or family law attorney, or would like more information on EPO or DVRO, contact a lawyer without delay.


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