Restraining Order Lawyers
What is a Restraining Order?
A restraining order, also known as an order of protection, is a Court order against an individual, which requires them to do or to desist or abstain from doing certain acts. Restraining orders can last from several days to several years. Restraining orders typically include criminal penalties if the restrained individual violates the Court order. Restraining orders are most typical in domestic violence, stalking and abuse cases.
What Can a Court Put On A Restraining Order?
Restraining orders can consist of a variety of Court orders:
- Stay Away – the individual must not go near a designated person, and/or that person’s home, workplace or school.
- No Contact – the individual is prohibited from contacting a person, whenever by phone, mail, fax, notes, or gifts. Recent applications of these restraining orders also include online contact, such as Facebook or Twitter.
- Cease Abuse – the individual is ordered to stop threatening or harassing a designated person.
- Support – the individual must continue to make payments, such as mortgages or child support.
- Restitution – the individual is required to pay for damages to the designated person, including property damage and medical payments.
- Exclusive Use – if a property, such as an apartment or car, is owned by a married couple, the court may order that only one partner is allowed use of such property.
- Other provisions a Court can place on a restraining order can include surrender of firearms and mandatory therapy or drug counseling. In addition, the restraining order can protect other people, such as friends, family members or children.
How Long Can a Restraining Order Last?
There are three common types of restraining orders:
- Emergency Protective Order (EPO) – These orders go into effect immediately. They usually expire in less than a week. EPOs are usually requested by a police agency when a violent domestic dispute call arises.
- Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) - A Temporary Restraining Order is like a normal restraining order, except it is for a limited duration. A TRO usually expires within a few weeks, when a full restraining order hearing can be held.
- Permanent Restraining Order – Permanent Restraining Orders are, contrary to their names, meant to last for a set number of years, although they can be renewed or extended if the threatening behavior has not ceased.
Enforcing Restraining Orders
Restraining orders typically involve civil (non-criminal) disputes and can only be enforced through a civil proceeding. The role of the police in upholding restraining orders is merely supervisory, and the degree of willingness that a particular police department may exhibit toward the enforcement of restraining orders varies widely. Thus, the most effective way to enforce a restraining order is to file a request with the Court to find the other party in contempt or violation of the restraining order.
Additional Information about Restraining Orders
The following are important points concerning restraining orders:
- The Court forms for obtaining a restraining order come with instructions, but it may be wise to consult with an attorney to ensure proper completion.
- There are a variety of advocacy clinics and battered women's clinics that can help an individual fill out the restraining order forms at little or no cost.
- After a restraining order is granted, report every violation no matter how minor to the Court that issued the restraining order. If a pattern is establish, the restrained person can be held in contempt of court.
Do I Need an Attorney to Get or Contest a Restraining Order?
Given the sensitive and serious nature of restraining orders, it is probably wise to consult with an attorney. Speaking with the proper lawyer will inform you of your rights as well as preserve any possible remedies you may have.
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Last Modified: 04-04-2012 03:56 PM PDT
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