A Restraining Order is a Court Order. Also known as a Protective Order, a Restraining Oder can prohibit, limit, or mandate certain conduct. Restraining Orders can be issued on an emergency, temporary, or permanent basis. They can be issued for a variety of purposes; examples include Domestic Violence, Civil Harassment, and Elder Abuse. Although Restraining Orders are intended to protect one party, they may limit the rights of another. Therefore, only a Judge can issue a Restraining Order after reviewing the circumstances associated to the request.
The person requesting the order, referred to as the Petitioner or Plaintiff, might be the victim of a crime, a business, or another entity subjected to abuse, violence, or harassment. The person against whom a Protective Order is sought is referred to at the Defendant or Respondent. Santa Clara County Superior Court personnel cannot provide legal advice but can assist with most restraining order questions and applications.
Please note: The Sheriff’s Office cannot provide legal advice.
Requesting Sheriff's Assistance
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office can attempt to serve a variety of Restraining Orders on your behalf. Most of which can be done free of charge, either through a Court ordered Fee Waiver or as legally mandated (such as with Domestic Violence orders). Whether your request for a restraining order is granted or denied, there may be related documents you need to have served. Either way, the Court will provide you with a document packet for yourself and for service. If you wish for the Sheriff to attempt to serve your documents, you must give your papers to the Sheriff’s Civil Unit with:
- A completed Request for Sheriff to Serve Court Papers.
- A complete set of the Court required documents.
- A completed Sheriff’s Fee Statement if you wish for the Sheriff to attempt service at no cost to you.
- Fees, if applicable.
The Sheriff will make a diligent effort to serve your documents based on information you provide in your request. There is no guarantee your papers will be successfully served. If the service is successful, the Sheriff will complete a Proof of Service and file it with the Court and the Sheriff’s Records Division (if applicable).