What is an Order of Protection?
A person who believes their safety is in danger can ask the court for an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment.
An Order of Protection is a legal order used to prohibit a person from committing acts of domestic violence or from contacting people protected by the order. It also provides several kinds of protective relief, such as removing firearms from the home, adding other people to the protective order, and exclusive use of the home.
What is an Injunction Against Harassment?
The Injunction Against Harassment orders a person to stop harassing, annoying or alarming another person. Injunctions can be used for disputes against neighbors, strangers, and people who are or were dating. Harassment is defined as: “a series of acts over any period of time that is directed at a specific person….” The relationship between you and the other person determines which protective order will be used for your situation. The Injunction Against Harassment differs from the Order of Protection in that exclusive use of the home cannot be ordered and the police are not mandated to serve the Injunction.
Restraining Orders Based on False Information
An order of protection can be issued without the courts considering both sides of the story. Unfortunately, the courts won’t hear both sides of the story until the order has been issued. It’s common that spouses and exes unfairly use restraining orders as a weapon in custody hearings or divorce proceedings.
A restraining order can keep you from accessing your own home or from seeing your children. Moreover, a protective order can show up on background checks. This could affect your employ-ability.
To get the order terminated, you need to file a motion. Once you’ve filed the motion, a hearing is held within a week. During this period, it’s critical to avoid violating the restraining order as this could worsen your case in court. Make sure to obey the order until it has been lifted.
Fighting a Protective Order
You can get a protective order modified or dismissed. A restraining order is valid for a year. During this period, you are entitled to one hearing on the order. You need to file a written request for a hearing in the court that issued the restraining order.
Also, you need to know the timelines for contesting these orders as this will help you take immediate action when an order is issued against you. Furthermore, you need to ensure that you do not violate the order even after you’ve filed a written request. Violation of a restraining order could lead to criminal charges or jail time. A violation of the order shows the judge that the order is necessary.
The next step is to get objective proof. You need to prove to the judge that what you’re accused of could not have occurred or did not occur. For example, if you were accused of harassing the person on the phone, obtain phone records to show that this did not happen.
The final step is to hire an experienced defense attorney. A qualified lawyer will help you understand what the law says about protective orders. He or she can even help you file a request to have the order modified, changed, or dismissed.