Domestic Violence Emergency Protective Orders and Form EPO-001

Nov 16, 2022


Emergency Protective Orders are the initial order given by law enforcement on the scene when there is a domestic violence incident. It’s used to restrain the person arrested for domestic violence from committing further domestic violence, abuse, or stalking against the other person involved. It’s issued upon an oral request by a law enforcement officer who is made aware of the immediate and present danger of domestic violence, abuse, child abuse or abduction, abuse of an elder or dependent adult, or any stalking/harassment/credible threat. If an order is issued, the law enforcement officer must complete and sign the required Judicial Council form EPO-001. The EPO-001 is a crucial tool for domestic violence prevention and must be followed.

An EPO is valid for 5-7 days, this time allows the victim an opportunity to obtain a domestic violence temporary restraining order from the family court to extend the protection up to 21 days and seek orders after a hearing that could last up to 5 years. However, a judicial officer may also include any of the following orders along with the EPO:

  • A protective order that includes personal conduct restraints, residence exclusion, orders regarding animals, protection of household members, and stay-away orders also covering locations like school, work, and daycare.

  • Temporary care and control of any minor child of the parties or other children in the family or household.

  • An elder abuse or dependent adult protective order.

  • If issued for stalking, an order may include civil harassment order protections and/or workplace violence protections.

  • Any other orders necessary to effectuate the above orders.

  • If the restrained person is arrested, a Criminal Protective Order may be issued to protect the victim as well. 

An important item to remember is automatically upon its issuance, the EPO also prohibits the restrained party from owning, possessing, purchasing, receiving, or attempting to purchase or receive a firearm or ammunition. The law enforcement officer at the scene of a domestic violence incident must take temporary custody of any firearm or other deadly weapon in plain sight, or discovered pursuant to a consensual search or other lawful means, for the protection of the officer and others present. The officer is also authorized to obtain a search warrant in the event there is probable cause to believe firearms or other deadly weapons are present that cannot be seized by other legal means. While obtaining all the information regarding the factual context of the incident, law enforcement may have had the opportunity to search the residence, and if the officer is fully trained, will search the residence for firearms. In handling these calls, the judicial officer should have this requirement foremost in mind.

It is also necessary to go line by line through the form EPO-001 with the officer. This will ensure all items on the form are addressed. Paying attention to item 10, as it should be completed to indicate whether the officer has observed, inquired, searched for, or seized firearms.

There may be some limitations on firearms protection under an EPO. For example, if the victim desires to maintain a firearm in the residence and is the owner, it can be difficult to ensure that the firearm will not be accessible to the prohibited person if they are no longer restricted from accessing the residence. If the restrained person fled and was not served with the EPO, there is a further issue as to whether the restrained person has notice of the firearm prohibition. Additionally, the restrained person may have fled the scene with the firearm. Consequently, there may be no violation of a statute at that point because of the lack of service of the restraining order.

The judicial officer involved may also consider asking whether there is an existing criminal protective order or other restraining order in place where the suspect is the restrained party. If such a protective order is already in place, it may provide the law enforcement officer with the necessary authority to seize weapons whether or not an EPO has been entered and served.

The Protective Order Bench Guide: Emergency Protective Orders (March 16, 2020), from the Judicial Council's Center for Children, Families, and the Courts, available at, is a useful resource.

If you have been charged with domestic violence in California, please contact us at once for a free consultation. It is imperative to know and follow all boundaries of the orders that have been placed against you and all parties involved. 

Category: Criminal Defense

Michael Mitchell

Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.

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Michael E. Mitchell, at the Mitchell Law Group, Inc., is one of the top DUI defense attorneys in Fresno, California. He has over a decade of experience handling DUI cases throughout the Central Valley, including in Clovis, Madera, Tulare, Visalia. He is a certified field sobriety instructor and practitioner under the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and is a member of the California DUI Lawyers Association. His advice and knowledge is, routinely, sought after by other attorneys practicing in the area of DUI defense. He is an expert in the area of DUI defense in both Federal, State, and on the Appellate level. If you're looking for the best DUI Lawyer in Fresno to handle your case, give us a call today to see how we can put our knowledge to work for you.