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Know the Laws: California

UPDATED January 2, 2017

Enforcing your Out-Of-State Order in California

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If you are planning to move to California or are going to be in California for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

Registering your out-of-state order in California

back to topWhat is the National Crime Information Center Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico.  It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

All law enforcement officials have access to it, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

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back to topHow do I register my protection order in California?

Registration of your protection order is voluntary and will be done by the court upon request.  The benefit is that once you register it, it can be entered in the Domestic Violence Restraining Order System, which may make police enforcement of it easier.  In most counties, the clerk will take care of registering it in the System; however, in some counties, you may have to take a copy of the registered order to the police yourself for them to put it in the System.  To find out how your county handles this, ask the court clerk. *

To register your order, you will need to:

  1. Fill out and sign the Register Out-of-State Restraining Order form (DV-600), which is available on the California Courts Self Help Center website or at the courthouse;
  2. Attach a certified copy of your order to the form; and
  3. Bring it to the court clerk. There is no fee for registering your out-of-state protection order in California.**
If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in California for assistance.  You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our CA State and Local Programs page.

* Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 6404(a)
** Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 6404(b)

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back to topDo I have to register my protection order in California to get it enforced?

No.  California state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order and allows the courts to enforce the order even if it contains provisions that could not be included in a California DVRO.* 

Police officers also have to enforce out-of-state protection orders as long as you can show the officer a copy (it does not have to be a certified copy, and can be an electronic copy) of the order and can truthfully tell the officer that you believe the order is still in effect.**  The order does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by a California police officer, but the officer does need to believe that it is a valid (real) order.***

* Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 6402(a)
** Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 6403(a)
*** Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 6403

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back to topWill the abuser be notified if I register my protection order in CA?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.*  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Staying Safe page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our CA State and Local Programs page.

* 18 USC § 2265(d)

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back to topWhat if I don't register my protection order? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Maybe.  While neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your protection order  to get it enforced, if your order is not entered into the state registry, it may be more difficult for a CA law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real, so it could take longer to get your order enforced.  However, the officer is required to enforce the order if you can show him a copy that appears to be a valid order.*

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area.  An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in California.  To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in CA, go to our CA State and Local Programs page.

* Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 6403(a)

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back to topDoes it cost anything to register my protection order?

No. There is no fee for registering your protection order in California.*

* Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 6404(b)

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