Restraining orders are meant to be a form of protection for those requesting it. If a restraining order has been taken out on you, it pays to understand the ramifications.
How Restraining Orders Work
When someone is in fear of their lives or their children's lives, they may file a document with the courts, asking for protection from an individual. While the exact terms can vary from place to place, the person requesting the restraining order is known as the petitioner and the other party is the respondent. After the order is filed, a judge will issue the order if the request appears valid. In many places, that results in a temporary injunction. The injunction provides protection for the petitioner until a hearing can be scheduled. At the hearing, the petitioner and respondent have the opportunity to present evidence that supports their side. That may or may not result in a final order of restraint or an injunction with restrictions upon the respondent.
What Is a Restraining Order?
Preventing close contact between two or more people is the aim of a restraining order. Either the threat or a history of violent behavior by the respondent can prompt such an order. A history of sexual violence, domestic violence, date rape, and other situations can call for a restraining order. Not obeying a restraining order is a serious criminal matter and offenders can be arrested, jailed, and charged with a crime. Each situation is different and so are the restrictions placed on the respondent in the case. They might be ordered not to make any sort of contact (including phone, text, email, etc.) and to stay physically away from the petitioner by a certain number of feet. Other powers included in the restraining order include the following:
- Allow the petitioner to reside in the family home while the order is in place. The respondent will be allowed to gather personal items alongside a law enforcement officer.
- Grant temporary child custody to the petitioner, and order the respondent to pay child support.
- Order the respondent to take part in educational training and counseling in regard to domestic violence and anger management.
- Disallow the respondent to possess firearms.
Never allow someone to direct your activities using a restraining order without fighting back. You have a right to be represented at the hearing by a criminal law attorney. They can defend your actions, fight against harsh restrictions, ask for supervised visitation with your children, and protect your rights. Don't just ignore an order. Take action, and fight an unjust restraint order.