Restraining orders are instructions that are issued and approved by the court for the purpose of protecting persons in certain situations. They usually require an offender to maintain a certain distance from the victim of an offense (such as 1000 feet). This often happens as a result of domestic violence cases, instances of abuse, and other similar situations where a person may be at risk of harm. 

There are many different types of restraining orders with different purposes and instructions. For instance, a restraining order may require the offender to completely cease communication with the victim, or it may restrict physical contact with the person. 

Restraining orders can also vary in terms of how long they are enforceable for. Some restraining might last for a few days while other types might be legally enforceable for several years. Violations of a restraining order can result in various legal penalties, such as fines and even criminal consequences.

Some specific types of restraining orders might also protect a person from other types of harm, such as economic harm or emotional harm. Restraining orders may be called by different names depending on the state. For example, they are sometimes referred to as “protective orders.” 

What is the Correct Procedure for Responding to a Restraining Order?

Restraining orders are typically issued by a judge and are enforceable under state family and criminal laws. When responding to a restraining order, it is best for the offender to comply with the instructions and prohibitions listed in the restraining order. These can involve many different requirements, depending on the individual order and the situation it applies to.  

If the offender has any complaints or wishes to challenge the restraining order, they should make use of the channels of the court system to have the order modified or lifted. They should avoid taking steps that would violate the order. 

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

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

What Happens If a Restraining Order Is Violated?

Violations of court-issued restraining orders can lead to serious effects, including a contempt order from the court. Persistent (repeated) 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 in a person’s life, such as the right to child custody or visitation privileges.

Thus, it is very important that the terms of a restraining order be obeyed at all times. Even a single violation of a court order can lead to serious consequences. Again, if there are questions or if anything is unclear about a restraining, it is better to check with the court first before taking any steps that might violate it.

What are Some Common Types of Restraining Orders?

Responding to a restraining order properly will of course depend on the type of restraining order and the instructions provided by it. There are several different types of restraining orders, each used in different situations to provide protection for the person seeking it.

  • Temporary restraining orders are orders that last only for a short period of time (thus the name “temporary”). Depending on the situation, they may last anywhere from a few days to several years. 
    • Thus, in order to properly follow this type of order, it is necessary to be clear on exactly how long it will last. 
  • Mutual restraining orders place restrictions on both parties involved. These types of orders are common in situations like divorce, where both parties may have issues with one another. 
    • They may involve prohibitions or restrictions such as prohibiting the parties from contacting or seeing one another.
  • Permanent restraining orders can last for an indefinite period of time. These are often used in situations where the person is in great danger of harm, or where there is a history of repeated abuse or violations of previous restraining orders. 
    • They can also last for set periods of time as well.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Restraining Orders?

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