What You Need to Know
Getting served with a Restraining Order can be very confusing. We are here to help! Restraining Orders are a major practice area of our firm, and we are very experienced with handling all aspects of these orders. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions by our clients. If your question does not appear on this list, contact us today for a free consultation!
What am I being charged with?
Nothing! These orders are civil in nature, which means that they are not criminal charges. This is important for many reasons, most importantly that the burden of proof is much much lower in civil cases.
So what do I have to prove?
Assuming your case is in temporary order status (you'd know if it was a permanent restraining order, because you'd have been to court about it before), you don't have to prove a thing! The other side has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (basically, by 50% plus a little bit) that you are either harassing them or that you have in some way committed an act of domestic violence, depending on the kind of order that you have. If you were living with the person, are related to the person, or have at one pointed dated the person, you're probably looking at a domestic violence order. If, on the other hand, you've worked with the person, have gone to school with the person, or are a neighbor of the person, it is an anti-harassment order.
But I didn't do anything!
Unfortunately, that's not unusual. Other than speeding tickets, these orders are one of the most common kinds of court cases where one or both parties have never had to go to court before.
But they're lying!
That's not unusual either. We've had cases where our clients haven't even met the people who are claiming to be witnesses for the other side. Unfortunately, the judge doesn't know that they're lying because with temporary orders, you haven't told them your side of the story yet. That's why it's important to find an experienced attorney who knows the rules and procedures relating to these hearings.
So is this even worth fighting?
Ultimately, that's up to you. Remember, though, that violations of these orders can be a criminal charge with serious penalties. Plus, these orders can be difficult to deal with, especially if you live or work with the other party. If you don't show up to court, the order will be granted automatically, even if there could have been a way to fight it. Once the order is in place, it becomes very difficult (but not necessarily impossible) to make it go away.
Can I do this without a lawyer?
It's possible, yes, but not a good idea. Although the rules of evidence don't apply to these hearings, many other court rules do apply. Plus, if the other side shows up with a lawyer, your chances of successfully presenting your case drop significantly. The more complicated your case and the more the consequences of an order will negatively impact your life, the more you need an attorney in cases like these.
My child is the one who is named in the order? Have you dealt with cases involving kids?
Yes, we have. The rules are essentially the same for kids and adults, but if your child is the individual named in the order, you need to find an attorney who has handled juvenile restraining orders before for the best results.
How do I find a lawyer for a case like this? What kind of questions should I be asking?
The most important thing to ask is how much experience the attorney has doing cases like this. Although the facts of each case are different, the rules and procedures are the same. Many attorneys do not take restraining order cases, or only take them very rarely. You want someone who handles them regularly. You also need someone you feel comfortable with. Many times with these cases, very personal and possibly embarrassing details are included in the petition. You need to make sure that you feel comfortable talking to the attorney about all of the facts and situations that are relevant to the claim to get the best possible results.
What about cases where I want to get a protection order against someone? Can you help me?
Yes, we have experience working with both Petitioners and Respondents on protection orders.
I have an order in place against me and I've been accused of violating it. Do you handle those cases? What if I need to ask a judge to change the order? Can you help me?
Yes to both situations. We handle criminal order violation cases and have experience with modifications of orders. We also have experience with motions for reconsideration.
I have a question that isn't on the list! Where can I find an answer to my question?
Contact us for a free consultation today!