What is a Restraining Order
A protection order or restraining order is an order from the court to protect a victim from future harm from an assaulter. A restraining order ensures that the victim ceases to get harassed by keeping the abuser away from the victim. A restraining order offers sanctuary to a person, public, company or business from a specific offender charged with alleged harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Unlike other court orders, a restraining order is a civil order and does not mark the abuser with a criminal record.
The issue of a restraining order is under the following circumstances. A restraining order is most commonly sought by a victim of domestic violence. Domestic abuse victims are those who are legal adults over the age of 18 or a minor, abused by a spouse or former member residing in the house or another person present at the scene. Crimes and threats termed as domestic violence are not limited to physical violence but includes stalking, sexual assault, burglary, criminal restraint, false imprisonment, lewdness, kidnapping, homicide, terrorist threats, and harassment.
A restraining order is issued only on proving the assault. A victim seeking a restraining order must convince the judge that keeping the assaulter away is an absolute necessity. A victim of domestic violence can get a restraining order after a sworn statement of facts (alleging) to support the claim of imminent, serious harm. Under such situations, a temporary restraining order is issued without sending out a notice to the defendant. The decision to make the restraining order permanent is taken by the judge after the defendant receives the notice. Time limit of a restraining order varies from state to state and under certain circumstances, it is made permanent. A restraining order could be discharged upon the prosecutor’s or defender’s request.
A restraining order is specific about what the abuser can’t doOn issuing a restraining order against the abuser, he/she could be ordered to cut off all contact with the victim. Point of contact can be through the means of phone or in person at the location the order is passed against. These locations could be the victim’s office, residence, school or anywhere else. In cases wherein the abuser lives with the victim, the court can order the former to vacate the premises. To protect the victim from the abuser after passing a restraining order, a judge can order for a police escort to monitor the abuser while he/she removes personal items. When children are involved, the court may grant custody of the minors to the victim and order the abuser to pay for child support. Some states also mandate the abuser to bear the medical expenses of the victim’s treatment. Furthermore, the judge holds the power to order the abuser to bear the attorney’s cost and any other damages caused to the property or person present. In short, the judge can offer the victim any degree of protection so long as the victim agrees to it.
Life after a restraining order
Post the court run after the judge issues a restraining order, a copy of the same should be carried by the victim at all times. Even after the restraining order, if the abuser attempts to cause bodily harm, the victim should call the police. Under the law, the police have the authority to arrest the abuser when he/she violates the restraining order taken against them. The victim can then file a criminal charge against the abuser for violating the protection order. Should the abuser be found guilty, he/she can face jail time. In case of loss of copy, the court can offer a duplicate.
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