In a civil harassment case, the court can issue orders to protect people from being harassed by others. The plaintiff may file a petition with the court and obtain a Notice of Hearing (NOH) and temporary restraining order (TRO) upon a showing of reasonable proof of harassment by the defendant and great or irreparable harm threatened to the plaintiff. The NOH/TRO is a notice of motion advising the defendant to appear at a hearing to determine whether a permanent injunction prohibiting harassment should be issued. The temporary restraining order (TRO) restrains the defendant from certain activities and types of conduct for a limited period of time. The NOH/TRO should be given to the Sheriff without delay because any restraining orders must be entered in the California Restraining and Protective Order System (CARPOS-formerly DVROS).
The NOH/TRO must be served at least five days before the hearing date unless the time is shortened by the court. At the request of the petitioner, the Sheriff will serve the NOH/TRO without a fee deposit if the court has determined the order is based on stalking or a credible threat of violence. If the NOH/TRO is served by someone other than the Sheriff, the proof of service must be filed with the court. The respondent is subject to immediate arrest for violating the court's orders if CARPOS indicates the NOH/TRO has been served.
The Sheriff accords a very high priority to restraining orders where violence is threatened. The first attempt to serve is made no later than two business days after receipt. Up to three attempts are made to serve the NOH/TRO including one night-time attempt after 6:00 p.m. (unless the defendant cannot be found at the address in the evening.) If the NOH/TRO is served, the Sheriff will mail a proof of service to the court and plaintiff. If service is not made, the NOH/TRO and a certificate of not found/no service detailing the reasons for non-service will be mailed to the plaintiff. If the defendant appears to be evading service, the plaintiff may wish to consider using a friend or relative over the age of 18 or hiring a registered process server who can devote more time to effect service.