A restraining order is a court order sought by a party (the petitioner) who seeks legal protection from another party. A restraining order may be appropriate in a harassment situation, a domestic violence case, a child abuse case, or to protect a vulnerable adult. Each of these situations might require a slightly different legal procedure for obtaining a restraining order. The procedures for obtaining a restraining order also vary by location.
A temporary restraining order can be sought by the petitioner from the courts in order to prohibit contact between the victim (petitioner) and the harasser/abuser (respondent). A restraining order prevents such respondent conduct as domestic abuse, harassment of the petitioner, access to the petitioner's area of residence, any form of contact with the petitioner, and other appropriate orders.
A temporary restraining order can typically be issued the same day that it is requested and does not need to follow a relevant arrest in order to be approved. A temporary restraining order becomes effective when it is served to the respondent and will remain valid until the petitioner and the respondent appear before the court in an "Order to Show Cause" hearing to explain why a permanent restraining order (also called a protection order) should be issued. This hearing is typically scheduled for 15 to 20 days after the temporary restraining order goes into effect.
The type of situation for which the restraining order is sought will determine the type of restraining order and the procedure involved in obtaining this court order. A harassment restraining order typically requires the petitioner to pay a small fee. Harassment can include unwanted words, gestures, or other actions that threaten the victim's safety, security, or privacy regardless of the relationship with the perpetrator. A harassment restraining order may also be appropriate to stop targeted residential picketing.
A domestic violence restraining order can be sought to protect a child, a vulnerable adult, or any other victim of violence, threats, or other unwanted actions from a person of close relation. A restraining order for these purposes typically does not require the petitioner to pay any fee for the order. With a restraining order, the respondent is prohibited from making any contact with the petitioner. If the restraining order is violated, the respondent can be arrested for the violation and receive penalties for the violation.
A restraining order is a helpful tool to reduce the risk of violence, harassment, and other harm. However, a restraining order cannot provide absolution protection so it is important for potential victims of violence to take every precaution possible. Statistics show that restraining orders are frequently violated. Nearly twenty percent of all domestic homicides occur during a time where the victim had a restraining order out against her killer. And this statistic reflects only the most extreme example of a restraining order violation. If you would like to learn more about restraining orders, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney in your area who can ensure that your rights and interests are protected.
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