A Restraining Order is a court order intended to protect you from further harm from someone who has hurt you; to keep the abuser away from you, or to stop harassing you, or keep the abuser from the scene of the violence, which may include your home, place of work, or apartment. It is a civil order and it does not give the abuser a criminal record.Who can get a restraining order?
A victim of domestic violence can obtain a Restraining Order. A victim of domestic abuse means a person protected by the law and shall include any person who has been subjected to domestic abuse by a spouse, or any other person who is a present or former household member and where the victim is 18 years of age or older or who is an emancipated minor. A victim, of any age, who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person who she/he says will be the father/mother of the child when the pregnancy is carried to term is also covered by this law. A victim, of any age, also includes any person who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.
Domestic violence means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts committed against a victim by an adult or an emancipated minor:
- Criminal mischief
- Criminal restraint
- Terrorist threats
- Criminal sexual contact
- Criminal trespass
- False imprisonment
- Sexual assault
If you are a victim of domestic violence, a judge can sign an Order of Protection that requires the abuser to obey the law. The order is very specific in as far as what the abuser can and can’t do.
How long does the restraining order last?
When you first get protection under the law, it is only temporary. The order is called a T.R.O. for Temporary Restraining Order. You must return to court on the date indicated in the T.R.O., which will be about 10 days later in most states. Both you and the abuser will be asked to appear in court on that date. During the 10-day period, the police or Sheriff's Office will serve the abuser with a copy of the order so the abuser will know when the hearing is scheduled. Keep a copy of the order with you and give a copy to the police in any town where you think the abuser might bother you.
Related Content:Restraint and Walking Away: A Sure Fire Way to Avoid a Restraining Order