Restraining Orders and Trespass Self-Help Guide


You can ask for a civil harassment restraining order if you are being harassed, stalked, abused, or threatened by someone you are not as close to as is required under domestic violence cases, like a roommate, a neighbor, or more distant family members like cousins, aunts or uncles, or nieces or nephews. 

The Restraining Order Process

When someone asks for a civil harassment restraining order in court, they have to file court forms telling the judge what orders they want and why. What happens after that varies a little from court to court, but the general steps in the court case are:

1. The person wanting protection files court forms asking for the civil harassment restraining order.

2. The judge will decide whether or not to make the order by the next business day. Sometimes the judge decides sooner. Then, the clerk will set a date for a hearing.

3. If the judge grants (gives) the orders requested, he or she will first make “temporary” orders that only last until your court date.

4. The person asking for protection will have to “serve” the other person with a copy of all the restraining order papers before the court date. This means that someone 18 or older (NOT involved in the case) must hand-deliver a copy of all the papers to the restrained person.

5. Both sides go to the court hearing. At the hearing, the judge will decide to cancel the temporary restraining order or grant a “permanent” restraining order

What You Can Do?

File a Civil Restraining Order with the Humboldt County Superior Court. Complete the application packet for a civil restraining order (visit the Humboldt County Superior Court Self-Help page for a downloadable file).

File your application packet in person at the Humboldt County Superior Court. For more assistance you can visit the Humboldt County Self-Help Center at 825 5th Street, Eureka, CA Room 310.  

Legal Assistance

Legal Services of N. Ca. 707-445-0866

Hum. Co. Victim/Witness 707-445-7417

This is provided for informational purposes only. For more information or legal advice, contact the above listed entities.


  • Penal Code 602 PC is the California statute that defines the crime of criminal trespass. A person commits trespassing when he or she enters -- or remains on -- someone else’s property without permission or a right. Specifically defined as:

California Penal Code 602.1(a) “Any person who intentionally interferes with any lawful business or occupation carried on by the owner or agent of a business establishment open to the public, by obstructing or intimidating those attempting to carry on business, or their customers, and who refuses to leave the premises of the business establishment after being requested to leave …”

  • Penal Code 602(o) - Authorizes Police Officers to arrest any person who refuses to leave private property at request of the owner. Additionally, owners of private property may complete a written request to law enforcement authorizes law enforcement remove persons on private property. The written request must be updated every 30 days.

California Penal Code 602(o)  “...every person who willfully commits a trespass by any of the following acts is guilty of a misdemeanor: Refusing or failing to leave land, real property, or structures belonging to or lawfully occupied by another and not open to the general public, upon being requested to leave by a peace officer at the request of the owner, the owner’s agent, or the owner…”

In most cases, California trespass is a misdemeanor. This means it can lead to penalties of up to six (6) months in county jail and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000).

What You Can Do?

Complete a Request for Prosecution for Trespassing form and return it to the Arcata Police Department. It is important to update this formal request every 30 days. This is particularly helpful as it authorizes law enforcement to remove or arrest any persons on private property while a business is closed.

What to Expect During Criminal Prosecution

  • Generally, criminal prosecution by the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office requires a person trespassing to refuse to leave in the presence of a law enforcement officer.
  • Business owners may be subject to subpoena (a legal order to appear in court) as witnesses to testify in support of the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office’s prosecution of any person for trespassing.
  • As with restraining orders, a conviction for trespassing may enable the Humboldt County Superior court to impose a criminal protective order.