Many people come into our office and ask for a “restraining order” when they mean a protective order or they ask for a “protective order” when they want a restraining order. So how are they different?
A Restraining Order
A restraining order is usually imposed by the court either automatically or in the course of a civil lawsuit including but not limited to child custody, divorces, or car accident cases. Restraining orders are usually issued to protect the destruction or hiding of property. An example of something required on a restraining order is that neither party is allowed to withdraw money from a bank account or delete posts on social media. If someone violates the conditions of a restraining order the police will not enforce the order. Only the judge will hand out penalties for violating a restraining order and while jail time is an option for the judge it in not often utilized
A Protective Order
A protective order is a court order that typically demands a person to stop doing actions that cause physical harm or is consistent with threatening behavior directed towards a specific person. It also prohibits an abuser from making contact with the person who the protective order has been given to. In order to obtain a protective order you need to have a special relationship with the person who has physically abused you. A special relationship usually includes roommates, previous dating relationships, and familial relationships. A protective order is issued for usually 2 years. The places an abuser is prohibited from going near can include a person’s home, work, children’s school or daycare facility, or other places that are frequently attended by the person who needs protection.
If a person violates a protective order it can result in immediate arrest, criminal penalties, and can even result in a felony conviction and prison time depending on the number of times a protective order is violated.
Because of the seriousness of a protective order usually physical abuse or extreme harassment with proof of that harassment is required.
If you feel like you qualify for a protective order or have wrongly had a protective order sought against you please contact our office to find out how we can help. At the Christiansen Law Firm our consultations are always free. Contact us today.