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How restraining orders work

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2022 | Protection Orders |

Criminal court judges and civil court judges issue restraining orders. Each type of order has its penalties, but many restrictions are included in both types. Each order will outline the limits. Some restrictions will generally be a part of the type of order, while others are specific to the order.

Common types of restrictions include:

  • Visiting or being within a specific distance of the person named in the order
  • Showing up at the home or workplace of the person named
  • Contacting the person named via phone, text, email, or social media
  • Still living in the home of the person named
  • Possessing a weapon of any kind

The order can also direct the person to take specific actions, such as requiring alcohol or drug rehabilitation or getting evaluated for drug or alcohol addiction. The judge may also add other specific rules based on the type of threat or risk.

Criminal domestic violence protection orders

Mandatory criminal domestic violence protection orders occur when the police show up and believe there is a credible threat of violence. Those who violate a protection order are held in contempt and can face new criminal charges, including a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can involve up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. A subsequent violation involves more severe charges.

Civil court restraining orders

Rather than the police showing up at your door, these occur when anyone files a petition requesting a civil court judge to enter a restraining order against a person who:

  • They have or used to have an intimate relationship
  • They live together or once lived together
  • They are or were related.

These involve violence or the risk of it, stalking, harassment, coercion or threats. They are temporary, lasting between 14 and 120 days. They also give the respondent a chance to defend themselves before the judge. If the judge finds them a danger, they impose a permanent restraining order of a length they determine in the order.

Those who violate a civil order are found in contempt and can face a Class 2 misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. A subsequent offense can be up to 24 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Defend your rights and freedoms

Some erroneously believe they can file a restraining order against anyone with impunity, thus weaponizing it. This is not the case. Those who believe the order is a mistake or a subsequent violation didn’t happen or was not their fault can discuss these issues with an experienced criminal law attorney who handles these matters. They can then take the case before a judge.