Defending Against a Restraining Order
A temporary restraining order in a domestic violence situation can restrict contact with the petitioner, as well as child visitation. A hearing for a permanent order usually follows soon. It’s essential to obey the temporary order and obtain legal counsel.
If you are the subject of a restraining order, understand that it is a very serious matter that deserves your prompt attention. You do, however, have important rights. If a person (known in the case as “the petitioner”) asks a court to issue a restraining order against you because of alleged domestic violence or other domestic conflict, you are entitled to be notified of the request, to have a court hearing, and to defend yourself.
You should never ignore a restraining order request. Instead, you should get information about your rights and options, consult with a lawyer, and participate in the court process. Once a restraining order is entered, you can be charged with a crime if the protected party accuses you of violating the order. If a permanent order is issued, you will be prohibited from possessing a firearm while the order is in effect, and the order will show up on background checks.
If you are facing a petition for a restraining order, you should not:
- DO NOT – Destroy evidence that you think could hurt you, as this may cast you in a suspicious light with the court and can lead to criminal charges
try to talk to the petitioner or witnesses you expect will testify for the petitioner about the case, or have any contact with them (including text messages or email).
- DO NOT – Disobey or disregard a temporary restraining order in any way.
- DO NOT – Violate a temporary restraining order, the petitioner can bring that up in the hearing or even file a motion alleging a violation of the order, making it even harder for you to defend against the request for a permanent order.
If you and the petitioner have children together, the temporary restraining order may tell you not to have contact with the children (or to do so only under supervised conditions) until the court addresses the request for a restraining order at a hearing. You should not try to “get around” the order by going by the children’s school or visiting them at a relative’s home. Again, the petitioner can bring this up at the hearing or even file a motion alleging violation of the temporary restraining order.
Consult With an Attorney
Restraining orders can happen quickly (temporary orders) and are usually followed soon by a full-blown hearing on a permanent order. Your ability to defend against a permanent order will depend on having a thorough understanding of the law in your county. Refuting accusations against you will require admissible evidence and relevant arguments. Having an experienced family law attorney on your side — someone familiar with the law, the rules of evidence, and the sensitivities of the judge — will greatly increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
If you feel that you want help in negotiating all these legal rules, contact the Crosson & Richetti legal team today.
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