Protection orders and restraining orders are meant to be filed and used by those who legitimately feel threatened by someone they've been in a relationship with. Sometimes, however, protection orders and restraining orders are used falsely or as retaliation. In fact, according to statistics, 70% of restraining orders are false or trivial and 1.5 million temporary restraining orders that are issued every year are false or trivial.
If someone has filed a temporary protection order or a restraining order against you, it's crucial that you understand the legal ramifications of violating the order and what having a permanent restraining order on your records could affect your future. It's also important that you understand the specific steps you can take to have a wrongful temporary protection order or restraining order dismissed before a permanent order is issued. Here's what you need to know.
Do not contact the person in any manner for any reason
The order will specifically tell you what you can and cannot do. Most orders specifically say to have absolutely no contact and to make no attempt at contact. Obviously, this means you cannot show up at the person's house, place of employment, or place of worship. If you happen to see him or her while out and about, move away quickly and leave the area entirely so an accidental meeting cannot be misconstrued as an intended one on your part.
Do not send messages either through SMS or social media or anything you may use. Do not send emails or snail mail. Do not write threatening posts directed to the person on your social media accounts. (Yes, some people really do this even though a restraining order is in place.) Do not try to give the person messages through a third party. Just don't do it. Every time you do something like this could result in a violation and jail.
Understand how your future may be affected
Protection from abuse orders and restraining order allegations and violations may affect you in the future, especially if a violation results in a guilty plea or finding by the court. This can definitely be a problem if you apply for positions that require extensive background checks for employment, public safety background checks such as are necessary to work in schools, and nursing homes, and extensive background checks for clearances that are often necessary for government employees. A violation may also show up on background checks that are conducted by landlords and property managers.
You can file a motion to dismiss the restraining order
You can file a motion to have a temporary order dismissed. In order to do this, you will need to hire an attorney who works in criminal law. The attorney will first listen to your story to determine whether or not he or she can help you. If they do make the determination to take your case, he or she will then file the motion in the clerk's office at the local courthouse before the hearing. The hearing will already have been scheduled and annotated on the temporary order.
The results of this hearing will mean either the issuance of a permanent order or the expiration of the temporary order according to the time provided in the order, which varies from state to state but is typically 30 days. At this hearing, you and your attorney will be given the chance to challenge the order that has been put in place against you. You will only be permitted to have the temporary order dismissed before it expires if your lawyer had filed a motion to dismiss prior to the hearing.
For more information, talk to an attorney at firms like the Johnson Motinger Greenwood Law Firm.