Restraining orders (or orders of protection) are court orders that ensure an individual is prevented from doing specific things to another individual. They are usually connected to domestic violence cases, or other cases with family members. This includes but is not limited to any form of abuse, harassment, or assault. Restraining orders do not only stem from criminal cases, but also civil. Regarding business relations, a judge may order that someone not have any form of contact with another party. If you or someone you know has had a restraining order filed against them there are certain things you are prohibited from doing, and to avoid violating this order, you should educate yourself of what those things are.
Much like any other offense, the laws regarding restraining orders vary from state to state. However, regardless of where you are, restraining orders are not to be taken lightly. It is also important to note that just because there is a restraining order against you, you still have rights. A requester (or petitioner) that asks the court to issue a restraining order does not get their request granted just because. As a defendant, you are informed of this request and may be heard in court before a restraining order is granted in their favor.
Once you are notified, take this seriously and speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights. Having restraining orders filed against you can also bring forth criminal charges, depending on the petitioner’s details. No matter what, always obey the restraining order. There are stipulations laid out in the order that will inform you or what you must do and not do. To build your defense, gather all opposing evidence to prove your defense or innocence in this case. This includes witness statements, any physical documentation or proof. This will be beneficial to you should the petitioner provide false information so that their request may be granted, this is common. In the event that a petitioner says that you harass them by calling them daily, a phone record may be extremely beneficial. Do not destroy any evidence, even if you think it can be used against you.
Often times, a temporary restraining order is granted without the defendant having to be present. However, this TPO allows you time to work on building your defense before the hearing regarding a permanent order is held. Speak with a Decatur attorney to see what options you have.
Thanks to Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and temporary restraining orders.