Work With a Lawyer to Get or Contest Restraining Orders
What Is a Restraining Order?
If you find yourself in a heated legal conflict with another party, then perhaps you would benefit from filing a restraining order, or maybe someone recently issued one against you.
Whatever the case may be, a restraining order is a serious matter. Also referred to as an “order of protection,” judges issue restraining orders to prohibit individuals from engaging in specific acts.
Such protection prevents physical harm against another person. These cases typically involve domestic violence, stalking, sexual abuse, or harassment, all of which use restraining orders in a “criminal context”.
However, such orders can also be issued in non-criminal situations. For example, restraining orders can restrict property owners from performing activities considered a “public nuisance.” They generally protect individuals, though they can also include other people, such as family members and friends.
Restrictions Included in Restraining Orders
Restraining orders typically come with a variety of restrictions tailored to suit the victim’s needs. These include:
No Contact Provision
Orders with a “no contact” provision prevent the other party from calling, texting, emailing, stalking, or physically contacting the victim.
Stay Away Provision
Orders with a “stay away” provision require the other party to remain a set number of yards or feet away from the victim and his or her home, job, car, or place of education.
This distance can vary depending on your state, judge, or the severity of your situation, however, it is typically at least 100 yards or 300 feet.
Orders with a “counseling” provision instruct the other party to attend counseling. For example, in a domestic abuse case, the abuser may attend an anger management or batterer intervention program.
Peaceful Contact Provision
Orders with a “peaceful contact” provision allow for peaceful, civil communication between the victim and the other party. However, such contact can only be made under limited reasons, such as child visitation in a divorce case.
How to Get a Restraining Order
Restraining orders are generally issued at the victim’s request, rather than a judge or prosecutor issuing one without a request. To file a restraining order, individuals can apply to a judge for one. Requests can include prohibiting contact from the victim’s aggressor, to have the aggressor back off in a civil dispute, or to direct the aggressor to do a specific act.
Those applying for a restraining order must convince the judge that such an act is necessary to prevent imminent or continuing harm. In a domestic violence case, for example, the person seeking protection must provide a sworn statement with facts supporting a claim of imminent harm.
The judge then issues a temporary order, without notice to the object of the order, also known as the “defendant”. Once the defendant receives notice, the judge holds a hearing to determine whether to make the order final. During this hearing, the victim must offer evidence to support her or his allegations.
Talking with an experienced restraining order lawyer helps ensure you have all the legal requirements necessary to fight your case.
How Long Do Restraining Orders Last?
The length of a restraining order depends on your state and judge. Some states set a time limit on the order, while others allow the judge to make the order permanent. Extensions are also granted per the victim’s request.
Different restraining orders with varying time frames can include:
Emergency Protective Order (EPO)
Emergency protective orders have the shortest expiration date, though go into effect immediately. Judges issue these until a hearing takes place, usually in cases of domestic violence.
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
Typically the standard, temporary restraining orders last for a limited duration. These orders usually expire in a matter of weeks or until a full restraining order hearing takes place. The judge can then decide how long this protection should be in place, or if the order should be made final.
Permanent Restraining Order
Permanent orders last for years. Individuals can renew or extend them upon request should abusive behavior continue.
How to Fight a Restraining Order
If you have a protective order filed against you, following the established orders is your best course of action. If you believe the order should be lifted, then you can work with an attorney to prepare for the hearing.
Before the event, gather all physical evidence or documents relating to the case or incidents involved. This includes letters, emails, phone records, videos, and other information that can help your case. Proof of your presence during the time of an incident also helps.
You must also gather a list of possible witnesses (and their contact information). These include people who may have information on the incident(s), accusations made, or the person enforcing the order. This way, in the event that the victim makes any false claims, you have evidence to prove your side of affairs.
What Happens When You Violate a Restraining Order?
If one fails to comply with an order, then it can result in automatic police arrest and criminal charges. Typically, courts treat violation of an order as a felony, misdemeanor, or contempt of court. Felony charges, however, are usually exclusive to repeat or serious violations of the order.
When faced with a restraining order, you must not destroy any evidence you think may be used against you. You must also avoid talking to the person enforcing the order or witnesses you expect to testify for them. Such actions can be used against you in court, and more explicitly, may even lead to criminal charges.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer Today
Contesting or issuing a restraining order can lead to complex, even life-threatening situations. Avoid receiving further charges or protect yourself from further harm by contacting a lawyer dedicated to your well-being and fighting for your rights.
Our team of experienced legal advocates is ready to assist with your protection. Allow them to help you navigate your legal options and prepare for a potential court case.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!