Responding to a Restraining Order

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What Are Restraining Orders?

Restraining orders are instructions that are issued and approved by the court for protecting persons in certain situations. They usually require an offender to maintain a certain distance from the victim of an offense. This often happens as a result of domestic violence cases, instances of abuse, and other similar situations. A restraining order may require the offender to completely cease communication with the victim, or it may restrict physical contact with the person.

What Is the Proper Procedure for Responding to a Restraining Order?

Restraining orders are issued by a judge and are enforceable under state family and criminal laws. In responding to a restraining order, it is best for the offender to comply with the instructions and prohibitions listed in the restraining order. If the offender has any complaints or wishes to challenge the restraining order, they should use the channels of the court system to have the order modified or lifted.

Violating a restraining order is not a proper response for any party involved in the arrangement. If the parties mutually agree that they no longer wish to have the restraining order in place, they still need have the changes approved by a judge. Failure to do so can result in legal consequences.

Lastly, a restraining order can often be challenged even before it is issued by the court. This can happen for instance in a hearing where both the victim and the offender are present (some restraining orders are issued without the offender being present).

What Happens If a Restraining Order Is Violated?

Violations of restraining orders can lead to serious effects, including a contempt order from the court. Persistent disregard of a restraining order can even lead to criminal consequences, such as criminal fines or possible criminal citations. A violation of a restraining order can also result in a loss of various other rights, such as custody or visitation privileges.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Restraining Orders?


Restraining orders are official documents that are backed by law, and need to be responded to in the correct way. You may need to hire a family law lawyer if you need assistance in obtaining, responding to, or challenging a restraining order.  Your attorney can inform you of your legal rights and can help ensure that your rights are being protected.

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Last Modified: 01-13-2014 02:31 PM PST

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