Civil Restraining Orders

There are many types of restraining orders: Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order, Workplace Violence Restraining Orders, and Civil Harassment Restraining Orders.

You can ask for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order if you are not related to the other party (sibling, parent, in-laws) or if you do not have a close relationship (married, divorce, living together). You should seek a restraining order if you feel like this individual is jeopardizing your safety.

Civil harassment occurs when there is unlawful violence against you, like assault, battery or stalking; or when there is a credible threat of violence; and the violence or threats seriously scare, annoy, or harass you and there is no valid reason for it.

Generally, to obtain a Civil Harassment Restraining Order, you must file the proper documents required by the Court and have a hearing. The Court will allow an ex parte, or “emergency”, hearing to occur immediately, so the person could seeking protection can obtain emergency orders if the violence or threat is present and imminent.

Once the court issues (makes) a restraining order, it goes into a statewide computer system. This means that law enforcement officers can see there is a restraining order in place. The consequences of having a court order against a person are very severe. It could order that the person not be able to go to certain places, or to do certain thing, the person will generally not be able to own a gun, the restraining order may affect his or her immigration status, and if the person to be restrained violates the restraining order, he or she may go to jail, pay a fine, or both.

Although, the process can be difficult, it is important to understand that the law is designed to protect individuals from serious threats and violence, and also to protect individuals from meritless accusations, since a Restraining Order could affect someone’s reputation and background history. It is important to not take the risk of losing an application for a restraining order since your safety is a serious issue. Having the right representation or strategy in applying for or defending a restraining order is crucial.

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