Before discussing the role that a restraining order lawyer plays and whether you should hire one, we must understand what a restraining order is, under what circumstances you should seek one, and what benefits a restraining order can bring to you.
This article covers the following topics:
What is a Restraining Order?
In legal terms, a restraining order is an order that a court issues and its aim is to help people to protect themselves from violence, stalking, severe harassment, or threats of violence. You can file for a restraining order if you want to safeguard yourself from a person who has abused, sexually assaulted, stalked, or assaulted you. You can also file for a restraining order in your favor if you are anticipating someone seriously annoying or harassing you.
Circumstances Giving Rise to the Scope of a Restraining Order
A victim of any age who has been the victim of any of the following acts can file for a restraining order: assault, burglary, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, sexual contact of a criminal nature, false imprisonment, harassment, homicide, kidnapping, lewdness, sexual assault or stalking.
Through a restraining order, you may seek restraint from a neighbor, a roommate, a friend, a family member, distant relatives, and even people whom you are not closely related to.
Depending on whom you are seeking to restraint and what your relationship with that person or group of people is, there can be multiple options for you to choose from. Domestic violence restraining order protects you from people you were romantically involved with or from people in your family. If your age is 65 or old or a dependent adult between the age of 18 and 64, you may file for an elder adult abuse restraining order. If an employer seeks to protect an employee from another person capable of inflicting harm or harassment, the employer may file for a workplace violence restraining order.
How Can a Restraining Order Help?
A restraining order is useful because it can serve very specific purposes. When issued in the broadest terms possible, a restraining order enforces restrictions on all possible types of contacts between a victim and a perpetrator. The abuser is denied permission to contact the victim in person at home or work or by phone or any other means.
If the need arises, restraining orders can go so far as directing an abuser to leave the house or apartment that he/she might share with the victim. If the victim is a minor court may ask the abuser to pay child support along with putting severe restrictions on visitations. The court may prohibit the abuser from owning a gun. The restraining order may also affect the immigration status of the victim. The type of directives that the court gives frequently depends on the type of order you are seeking. These types may include a temporary restraining order, a permanent restraining order, or a Stay-Away order.
Why You Need a Restraining Order Lawyer?
By now, it is evident that obtaining a restraining lawyer requires one to make multiple informed choices. One needs to know what type of a restraining order to seek which, in turn, depends on whom it is being fought against and what kind of a restraining effect one intends to create.
Once one has decided on what type of a restraining order he/she would seek, the petitioner has to go through an intricate and intimidating court procedure. Half baked understanding of the judicial intricacies may lead to failure in obtaining the most effective order that could have been possible.
Moreover, there are chances that the abusing person and the victim will come face to face in the public courtroom. It may lead to aggravated fear and escalated tensions in the courtroom. In such cases, it is always prudent to have a lawyer. If a lawyer represents you, it reduces the scope of friction. It also prevents eventual swaying away from the primary purpose of the order.
The Inputs of a Restraining Order Lawyer
Inputs from a trained legal mind come in handy at every phase of obtaining a restraining order. Anyone who is seeking a restraining order has to start by filing the court forms. The court forms are meant to inform the judge, in clearest possible terms, what type of an order one needs and the reasons one needs it for. Since the types of order issued depends much on who it is sought against and on what grounds, it is important that the petitioner gets proper legal advice. Boilerplate instructions on how to fill a form are not enough. An attorney must veto the decisions from the very beginning so that the claim does not suffer a blow later.
Helps Expedition of the Preliminary Temporary Order
The decision of when the court takes up the case depends largely on the judge. The judge may decide to prepare an order by the next day. Sometimes the judge goes for even sooner. An experienced attorney leveraging his knowledge of the procedure and his network in the public courtroom may play a role in expediting the issuance of a preliminary temporary order before the clerk sets a hearing date. Here, one needs to remember that having the temporary order is no less significant in a situation where the threat is imminent and there are risks or possible physical harms involved.
The temporary order prohibits the restrained person to make any contacts with the protected person, even through phone calls or e-mails. The order also directs the restrained person to stay away from the person being protected. Such orders in the face of a crisis prove immensely crucial, even when they are temporary. Having an experienced attorney to represent on your behalf always increases your chances to get such orders quickly. The temporary order remains valid until the court date.
One who has managed to issue an order to his/her favor needs to serve it to the intended person. Moreover, one needs to hand-deliver the order before the next hearing date. Involving an attorney or law firm in the process makes the delivery easier without the victim and the perpetrator having to come face to face.
Preventing Confrontation With the Opposite Party
Finally, on the day of the hearing, both parties need to appear in court. It is always prudent to present through a lawyer since it removes the scope of a confrontation between the two parties. With both sides representing their side of the story, it will be incumbent upon the judge to decide whether the temporary order needs to be turned into a permanent one. Parties represented by a learned attorney who knows what points to raise to legally convince the judge. Thus, they always enjoy a competitive edge over the other party involved.
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