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Legal Information: California

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of January 11, 2024

What is the legal definition of harassment in California?

For the purposes of getting a civil harassment order, harassment is defined as:

  1. unlawful violence, such as:
    • assault – attempting to cause a violent injury to you;
    • battery – use of force against you; or
    • stalking – repeatedly following or harassing you with the intent to place you in reasonable fear for your safety or your immediate family’s safety;1
  2. a credible threat of violence, which means a statement or actions that reasonably place you in fear for your safety, or the safety of your immediate family; or
  3. repeated actions that seriously alarm, annoy, or harass you, and that serve no legitimate purpose and cause you to be extremely emotionally upset (distressed), such as following you, making harassing telephone calls, or sending harassing emails.2

1 Cal.C.C.P. § 527.6(b); Cal.Penal Code §§ 240; 242; 646.9
2 Cal.C.C.P. § 527.6(b)