Restraining Orders (Orders of Protection)
Domestic violence is an ugly and unfortunate reality and no matter how you’re involved, it’s important to know that these situations can be explosive and have dire consequences.
A person in fear of imminent physical harm has a legal remedy, called an Order of Protection, commonly called a Restraining Order. If the person fears that abuse may occur they may go to the courthouse and ask the judge for an Ex Parte Order of Protection. If this is issued by the court it gives immediate relief to the threatened party.
If you are the victim, you should know that while you can do that part on your own, you should consider bringing in an experienced lawyer to help you through the process. Once the Order of Protection is issued the court will set a date within 15 days and then you will have to prove your claims to the court.
It’s at this point that legal counsel can be even more beneficial because missteps here can have dramatic consequences. You’ll need someone in your corner to help explain your view of the situation in such a way as to persuade the judge to grant you up to a full year of protection. One possible outcome may present even more danger if you are put back into a dangerous situation after the judge dismisses your request.
On the other hand if you’re the accused, you’ll want an attorney to help you make your side of the story as compelling as possible to the judge. The risks here are very high and can have far-reaching and perhaps even permanent consequences. The judge may see fit to extinguish the Order of Protection, but can only do that if you have provided a credible defense. Because the hearing will take place so quickly, it’s important that you get it right by bringing in knowledgeable and experienced counsel.
One other sad truth about Orders of Protection is that individuals will seek them out, often without adequate grounds, simply as a way to get a perceived advantage in a divorce, legal separation, paternity or custody action. If you find yourself on the receiving end of such a tactic, you need to act quickly to protect your interests on multiple fronts.