What to Do and Not to Do When You Get a Restraining Order

Courts can issue a restraining order to protect a complainant from further physical abuse, domestic violence, or harassment. Restraining orders are also issued to ensure a person maintains a certain distance from the complainant. If you get a restraining order, it’s important to take the situation seriously and ensure you follow the terms.

Consequences of a Restraining Order

To fully understand how serious a restraining order is, it’s important to know how it can affect your personal and social life:

  • Personal And Social Consequences: A restraining order can restrict your access to certain places, including your neighborhood if the person who filed the order also lives there. Since it limits your movement and ability to see certain people, it can eventually affect your relationships with family and friends.

  • Economic Consequences: A restraining order will show up when employers do background checks. Hence, it can affect your reputation and employment opportunities. The geographical restrictions of the order also mean that you will lose economic opportunities in that area.

If you think the issuance of the restraining order against you was a mistake, you have options and legal remedies to rectify the situation. This article will explain what to do and not to do when you get a restraining order.

What to Do

Upon receiving a restraining order, it’s important to do the following:

1. Consult a Lawyer

A lawyer can help you understand the terms of the restraining order and explain the consequences when it is violated. Your lawyer can also help you prepare for the hearing, where you can present evidence and argue your case for why the restraining order should be modified or lifted, if necessary.

It is best to consult a lawyer experienced in handling restraining orders in your area. For example, if you are issued a restraining order in Orange County, you should find a lawyer who specializes in the area.

It’s also important to note that restraining orders are typically issued in relation to domestic violence, custody, and divorce cases. Hence, finding a family lawyer who specializes in your area can significantly help.

2. Follow the Order

While awaiting the day of your hearing, you have to follow the terms of the restraining order in the meantime. Failure to comply with the restraining order can result in legal consequences such as fines or imprisonment. Any act that may be perceived as a violation of the terms of the restraining order will also make it more difficult for you to argue your case during the hearing.

3. Prepare Evidence for the Hearing

While a lawyer can build up your defense and do all the legal paperwork on your behalf, you must also do your part in the preparation process. So, before the hearing, compile copies of documents and other items you can use as evidence.

This could include records of the last communication and interaction or photos with the other party. If there are underlying conditions that may have led to the restraining order being filed against you, you may retrieve certifications from your psychiatrist for proof. You may also reach out to family members and friends willing to be your witnesses during the hearing.

What Not to Do

When dealing with a restraining order, it is important to not do the following:

1. Don’t Panic

A restraining order might be serious, but as long as you follow the order, you won’t have to go to jail because of it. Therefore, there’s no need to panic. Always remember that you can remedy the situation by engaging proper legal channels. Besides, the first restraining order you get is just a temporary one. A judge cannot issue a permanent restraining order without conducting a hearing first.

2. Don’t Confront the Other Party

It might be tempting to confront the other party or retaliate in some ways. You may be compelled to go to their home, school, or office. However, doing so will only worsen the situation. Instead, take a step back and assess the situation objectively. Listen to your lawyer's advice and wait for the day of your hearing to explain your side to the court.

3. Don’t Attempt Any Kind of Contact

Restraining orders are particularly hard for parents fighting for custody of their children. Not only do they have to deal with the emotional stress of the situation, but restraining orders can also limit their ability to see, interact, and spend time with their children.

With digital communication tools or social media, initiating contact by sending messages or making calls might seem easy. But even with the purest intentions, these acts might be perceived as violating the order. So, while awaiting the date of the hearing, respect the terms of the restraining order and allow the lawyer to be your official liaison.

In Summary

Being issued with a restraining order means that you have to maintain a certain distance from the complainant. This can have severe consequences on your personal and professional life. However, there are legal remedies to rectify the situation. Just remember what to do and not to do while you wait for the hearing.

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