Monday, July 13, 2015

How to File a Restraining Order

Restraining orders help protect victims of domestic violence and other crimes from further harm. Filing a restraining order doesn't require a lawyer or a police report. A victim will, however, need to present evidence that they are in risk of bodily harm, such as photos of injuries or copies of threatening texts or emails.

A victim can request restraining order paperwork from their local courthouse. Temporary restraining orders are often provided immediately, and a court date for a hearing is scheduled within 48 hours.

The accused or threatening party must be served with the temporary restraining order and provided notice of the next court date. Service of a restraining order is often performed by the local police or a county sheriff. A Proof of Service form documenting that the papers were served will be filed with court.

On the day of the hearing, a copy of the Proof of Service form, witnesses, and any evidence must be brought to the courtroom. Witnesses and evidence aren’t necessary but may help win a case. Both parties will have the opportunity to speak to the judge, who usually makes a decision immediately.

If the person being restrained doesn't appear in court, the restraining order papers must be served on the accused or threatening party after the hearing. Most restraining orders provide protection for up to five years.