A restraining order, also known as protective order is an order that is issued by the court in order to protect a person, business, company, establishment, and general public against any kind of domestic violence, harassment, stalking or sexual assault. A restraining order considers it a crime in case your abusive partner tries to contact you in any way. Every state in the USA has framed some kind of law related to restraining order for domestic violence and many states have specific restraining order laws for stalking and sexual assault. Simply put restraining order is an injunction to prevent one person from intimidating another.
There are various types of restraining orders in the United States which are issued by different courts with different scopes and durations. You can take the assistance of Lemkin Law’s domestic violence attorney to know about them in detail and decide which route to take.
Criminal restraining orders can only be requested through criminal court proceedings whereas civil restraining order can be requested if you feel that someone is threatening your safety or well-being. If you’re a woman who’s been the victim of an abusive relationship, in addition to filing a restraining order, you can also file for divorce, seek sole custody of your kids, and change their surnames. Before beginning the process, it might be useful to do your research and determine the costs of changing their name.
If you are granted the order, then the civil restraining order can prevent the abusive person from coming within 100 yards of you. If you are an alleged victim of domestic violence, stalking or any kind of harassment, then you can request the court to issue a an restraining order that will prohibit all kind of intentions used by the abuser to contact you – be it in the form of telephones, notes, mails, fax, email, text, or delivery of flowers and gifts or any kind of physical meeting.
What does a restraining order do?
Typically restraining order can include:
Personal conduct orders
These orders are aimed at prohibiting everyone mentioned as the restrained person, in the restraining order from performing some or all of the actions:
- Contacting, calling or sending any messages including e-mail.
- Attacking, striking or battering.
- Sexually assaulting
- Destroying personal property
- Disturbing the peace of protected people.
Stay away orders
These restraining orders require the restrained person to stay at least 50 to 100 yards away from:
- The protected person and persons.
- Where the protected person lives.
- His or her workplace.
- His or her children’s schools or places of child care
- His or her vehicle.
- Other important places where the protected person visits.
Residence exclusion or move out orders
These restraining orders need the restrained persons to move out from the house or establishment the protected person lives. The restrained person, however, can take his or her personal belongings until the court hearing. These orders can be issued in cases where there are indications of domestic violence or elder or dependent adult abuse.
Types of restraining orders:
There are 4 kinds of restraining orders that you can apply for:
- Elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order.
- Domestic violence restraining order
- Civil harassment restraining order.
- Workplace violence restraining order.
Elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order:
You can seek for domestic violence restraining order if:
- Your age is 65years old or above. Or
- You are between 18 and 64 years and are suffering from certain physical or mental disabilities which abstains you from performing your normal activities and you are the victim of:
- Physical or financial abuse
- Neglect or abandonment
- Treatments that have physically or mentally harmed you
- In case your caregiver deprives you of the basic things that you might require to perform your daily activities normally so that you will not suffer physically or mentally or emotionally.
Domestic violence restraining order:
You can apply for domestic violence restraining order if you are:
- Abused by someone and
- You have a close relationship with that person whether by way of marriage or are domestic partners, divorced, separated, dating or used to date and have a child together or are closely related parents, child, brother, sister, grandfather or grandmother in law.
Civil harassment restraining order:
Request for civil harassment restraining order can be made if you are being harassed, stalked, abused or threatened by someone you are not very close to, and they do not come under the definition of a roommate, neighbor, and distant family members as per domestic violence cases.
Workplace violence restraining order:
Workplace violence restraining orders are related to instances where:
- You are an employee and
- You are subject to stalking, harassment, violence or a credible threat of violence at the workplace.
An employee cannot seek protection under workplace violence restraining order. If the employee wants to protect him or herself then he or she can go for a civil harassment restraining order if the abuser is a partner or spouse or close family member.
How to Apply for Restraining Order
You can apply for a restraining order at any women’s shelters, courts, lawyer’s office, and some police stations. To apply for a restraining order you do not need a lawyer and as per the Federal law, you can get a restraining order for free. However, if you need any help to understand your rights then a lawyer can help you. Some lawyers will help you for free.
If you want to file for a restraining order you need to go to a family court located in the country where you live, and where the person who abused you lives or where the abuse happened. If you are sure that you qualify for civil harassment restraining order then you have to fill up the forms. If you are not sure whether you qualify for civil harassment restraining order then you can ask your domestic violence agency. They will guide you whether you need to file a domestic violence restraining order or a civil harassment restraining order. In order to file a request for a restraining order you will be required to:
- Determine which court you need to use to get your restraining order
- Get forms you need to file your initial petition.
- File your court forms and prepare to file
- File your court forms with the court
- Make at least five copies of your paperwork.
- Serve your papers on the restrained person
- Keep a record of any messages, emails or phone calls you might receive from the abuser.
- Get copies of the medical records in case of injuries.
- Get ready and go for your court hearing
- Be ready for the after court hearing.
- Distribute copies of your paperwork at locations such as schools or any such places where you need to inhibit the person from visiting.
Here are some of the restraining order forms that you might be required to fill to file for restraining orders:
- Form CH-100, Form CLETS-001, Items 1 & 2 on Notice of Court Hearing (Form CH-110), Form CM- 010, Additional page (Form MC-020) and Declaration (Form MC-030) or attached declaration (Form MC-031).
The first protection that you get under the law is only temporary. The order is called TRO. You will be required to return to the court on the date indicated in the TRO which is normally about 10 days later in most states. Once the hearing is complete and the judgment is given the court will give you a copy of the order, make sure that you understand all the points noted in the order. If the abuser does not obey the orders you have the right to call the police. The police can arrest the abuser who violates any part of the order.
If someone has filed Restraining Order Against You
If the order of protection or the restraining order goes against you then you cannot possess any firearms under the Federal Law. You will also be required to remove all your possessions and be forced to stay out of the house where the victim lives. You can be barred from parenting time be prevented from contacting your children including through phones or emails.
Experts have different views on whether restraining orders have made any impact to curb further harassment. Some experts are of the view that restraining orders can escalate or enrage stalkers and feel that at times the alleged offender’s rage might go unnoticed. Some experts, however, are of the opinion that restraining orders have played an important role to curb harassments, stalking and abuses. Whatever may be the opinion the Federal law requires all the state to honor every portion of the restraining order issued by any state in the US, provided that certain minimum requirements are met.