If you’re worried that someone is either stalking you or is intent on harming you, it’s in your best interest to approach the California courts and secure an emergency personal protection order (PPO).
The purpose of a PPO is to have a legal method of providing you with an extra layer of protection from anyone who is harassing you, stalking you, or who has expressed some sort of intent to harm you. What the PPO does is make it possible for the police to arrest the person you’re afraid of if they get too close to you, even if that person doesn’t harm you. If the person named in the emergency PPO gets too close to you or contacts you in any way, they will be arrested and charged with violating the PPO.
It’s important to understand that the police won’t simply issue an emergency PPO because you ask them to. Not only is there a strict process you have to go through first, but you will also have to convince a judge that you have a valid reason for wanting a PPO against the person you believe wishes to harm you.
The good news is that if you feel the need for an emergency PPO, you don’t have to wait for a day when the courtrooms are open. No matter what time of the day or night it is, you can go directly to the police station and start the process of filing for the emergency PPO. In addition to going to the police station, you can also call 911, and the police will fill out an emergency PPO when they arrive at the scene. This is extremely common in domestic abuse situations.
Even though the police officer you’re speaking to will handle the paperwork involved in obtaining an emergency PPO, the order isn’t legal until a judge has become involved. In the case of emergencies, at least one judge for every jurisdiction must be available 24/7 specifically so they can sign off on emergency PPOs.
Emergency PPOs don’t last indefinitely. They are only a temporary means of protection. In California, most emergency PPOs are only good for 5-7 days. This should give you enough time to approach the court and start the process of filing for a longer PPO.