Restraining orders are intended to restrict a person from contacting or otherwise harming another person. This is achieved by requiring the offending individual to do, or stop doing, a specific act. Restraining orders are most commonly issued in order to prevent one person from physically harming another, although restraining orders are sometimes issued in order to prevent emotional or economic harm. Orders may be issued to protect an individual, family members, friends, and children. Specific businesses or the general public may also be protected by a restraining order.

A protective order is a court ordered injunction generally issued alongside domestic violence cases. Such orders order the offender to cease contact with the victims of spousal or child abuse. An example of this would be a protective order prohibiting the defendant from coming within fifteen feet of the people they have physically assaulted. Protective orders are a type of restraining order and may also be referred to as a temporary restraining order, or a child protection order.

A temporary restraining order, or “TRO,” is a short term court order that states a person must abstain from certain activities. The order may also state that the offender must stay away from a specific location or person. Although similar to a restraining order, a temporary restraining order is not permanent. It is intended to end once the court holds a hearing in order to decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction. In some cases, a protective order may also require that the offender pays damages for any losses in connection with property damage or physical injury resulting from their offensive behavior.

How Long Do Protective Orders Last?

Protective orders may have a wide range of duration, depending on each jurisdiction and the original purpose of the order. In general, a protective order is typically valid for up to one year, with the possibility of an extension. Some states will enforce a protective order for up to three years, while other states will only enforce protective orders for up to ninety days.

As previously mentioned, protective orders are generally temporary and only last until a further court hearing is held to determine whether to grant a preliminary injunction. A preliminary injunction is a court order that is put in place at the beginning of a case in order to prevent an action while the case is being decided.

At a preliminary injunction hearing, typically both sides will have a chance to be heard, and the court will enter an order preventing the parties from taking actions that affect the status quo. Alternatively, a temporary restraining order may be put in place if time is an issue. However, temporary restraining orders may be lifted once both sides have been heard.

If protection for either party or property is still needed once the protective order has expired, the victim may be able to file for a permanent injunction. Permanent injunctions indefinitely prohibit a party from performing the specified action and are usually granted by a court at the end of a trial. However, such an extension will typically require proof that the victim would continue to be exposed to physical harm at the hands of the defendant if the injunction is not granted.

How Are Protective Orders Obtained? What If a Protective Order is Violated?

In order to obtain protective orders, or a temporary restraining order, the victim must first and immediately report any relevant incidents to a local authority. Typically these reports are usually generated by the police.

Next, the victim may then request that the court issue an order so as to protect them from any further harm. The order will generally be issued after the victim appears in court and explains why an order is necessary. If the court finds that an order would indeed be necessary, the order will most likely be issued on the same day as the court appearance.

The court may also schedule an Order to Show Cause hearing, in order to ensure that both parties have the opportunity to appear in court and explain why a more permanent order should or should not be issued. In the case of domestic violence, protective orders are typically granted at the same time as a criminal trial for domestic violence is filed. At the beginning of the trial, or prior to, a preliminary hearing may be held in order to determine if the victim is in immediate threat of harm. The judge may grant a protective order before a trial has been completed if they determine that immediate protection is needed.

A violation of a protective order is generally classified as a separate crime. Thus, violating the order and causing the harm will be considered two separate crimes. This could result in criminal penalties for the violator, such as fines and jail time. Common maximum penalties for violating protective orders include a $1,000 fine and/or up to one year in jail. Proof of physical harm or violence is not required to prove that a protective order was violated.

An example of this would be a protective order that prohibits the offender from contacting the victim through any means. If the offender attempts to contact the victim, this could be considered a violation of the protective order.

Do I Need an Attorney for Protective Orders?

It is imperative that you are safe and protected. Situations involving domestic abuse and violence are very serious and should not be taken lightly by anyone, including legal authorities. Therefore, if you need a protective order you should immediately contact a criminal attorney.

An experienced criminal attorney can direct you in how to obtain a protective order as soon as possible. Additionally, the attorney will work to keep you protected, as well as represent you in court as needed.