A restraining order is a legal tool used to prevent a person from contacting or causing harm to another person. It can require the offending person to stop or start specific actions with the goal of preventing physical, emotional, or economic harm. These orders can be issued to protect people, families, friends, children, and even businesses or the general public.
In cases of domestic violence, a protective order is often issued alongside a restraining order. These orders require the offender to cease contact with the victim(s), such as staying a certain distance away from them. Protective orders are a type of restraining order and may also be referred to as a temporary or child protection order.
A temporary restraining order, or TRO, is a short-term court order restricting a person from certain activities or contacting specific individuals or locations. Unlike a permanent restraining order, a TRO is intended to be temporary and may end once a hearing is held to determine whether to grant a preliminary injunction.
In some cases, a protective order may also require the offender to pay damages for any losses resulting from their harmful behavior, such as property damage or physical injury.
How Long Do Protective Orders Last?
Protective orders have varying durations depending on jurisdiction and the intended purpose of the order. They typically last up to one year, but some states allow up to three years while others only enforce them for up to ninety days.
Temporary protective orders are usually granted until a further court hearing is held to determine whether to grant a preliminary injunction.
Preliminary injunctions prevent parties from taking actions that affect the status quo while the case is being decided. Both sides are typically heard before the court enters an order at a preliminary injunction hearing. If time is an issue, a temporary restraining order may be put in place, but it may be lifted once both sides have been heard.
If protection is still needed after the protective order expires, the victim may file for a permanent injunction. Permanent injunctions prohibit a party from performing the specified action indefinitely and are usually granted by a court at the end of a trial. However, the victim must typically provide evidence that they would continue to be at risk of physical harm by the defendant if the injunction is not granted.
How Are Protective Orders Obtained? What If a Protective Order is Violated?
To obtain a protective or temporary restraining order, the victim must first report any relevant incidents to the local authorities, usually generated by the police. The victim then requests a court order to protect them from further harm, issued on the same day as the court appearance if the court finds it necessary. A court may schedule an Order to Show Cause hearing to allow both parties to explain why a permanent order should or should not be issued.
In domestic violence cases, protective orders are usually granted when a criminal trial for domestic violence is filed, and a preliminary hearing may be held to determine if the victim is in immediate danger. Violating a protective order is considered a separate crime and could result in criminal penalties such as fines and jail time, even if no physical harm is caused.
For instance, attempting to contact the victim in violation of a protective order could be considered a violation of the order.
What Are the Consequences of Violating a Protective Order?
Violating a protective order can have serious consequences. It is a separate crime in itself and can result in fines and jail time.
The maximum penalties for violating protective orders vary by jurisdiction but can include a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail.
Additionally, violating a protective order could result in being charged with contempt of court, which could lead to additional fines and jail time.
A violation of a protective order may also result in losing certain rights, such as the right to possess firearms.
Are There Any Defenses to Violations of a Protective Order?
In general, there are limited defenses to violations of a protective order. However, there are a few arguments that a defendant may make in court, depending on the circumstances of the case:
- Lack of knowledge: The defendant may argue that they were unaware of the protective order or that they did not understand the terms of the order. This defense is unlikely to be successful if the court determines that the defendant had been properly served with the order and was aware of its terms.
- False accusations: The defendant may argue that the victim falsely accused them of violating the order out of spite or gaining an advantage in another legal proceeding. However, this defense will typically require the defendant to provide evidence to support their claim, and it may be difficult to prove.
- Self-defense: In some cases, defendants may argue that they violated the protective order to protect themselves from harm. However, this defense is unlikely to succeed if the defendant’s actions were not proportional to the threat they faced.
Can I Get a Permanent Protective Order?
Yes, you can obtain a permanent protective order in most cases if you have a valid reason.
A permanent protective order, also known as a permanent restraining order or injunction, is a court order that prohibits an individual from having any contact with the protected person.
To obtain a permanent protective order, you must show evidence of past abuse, stalking, or harassment. This evidence can include police reports, witness statements, medical records, and other relevant documentation. Additionally, you will need to demonstrate that there is a significant risk of future harm if the protective order is not granted.
Once the court issues a permanent protective order, it will remain in effect until further notice from the court. However, the protected person can request the order be modified or terminated if their circumstances change.
Do I Need an Attorney for Protective Orders?
Ensuring your safety and protection is paramount, especially in domestic abuse or violence cases. Seek immediate legal assistance if you need a protective order.
By consulting with an experienced restraining order attorney, you can receive guidance on obtaining a protective order promptly. An attorney can assist in protecting you and representing your case in court as necessary.
LegalMatch can help you find an experienced attorney who handles protective orders in your area. By posting your case on LegalMatch, you can receive responses from attorneys interested in representing you. You can then review their profiles and compare their qualifications and fees before deciding on the attorney who is best suited to your needs.
This allows you to find a lawyer who understands your situation and can provide you with the guidance and representation you need to ensure your safety and protection. Don’t wait any longer to get the protection you need. Use LegalMatch to find a criminal attorney for your needs today.