Restraining orders, also known as protective orders, are commonly issued to help victims of domestic violence, harassment, or crime stay protected against future harm. However, being on the wrong end of a restraining order can be frustrating and damaging to your personal and professional life, especially if you are wrongly accused.
Fortunately, there are legal methods to challenge your protective order. If you feel like you’ve been unfairly served a restraining order, or the conditions are unfair, you have the right to defend yourself against the petitioner’s allegations.
The following are several steps you should take if you’re fighting a restraining order:
- Hire a lawyer – Your best chances for challenging a protective order lie with an attorney. If you’re involved in a criminal investigation, then a criminal defense lawyer is your best resource. If you are dealing with a divorce, you will want to seek a family law attorney.
- Obey the temporary restraining order – You need to abide by the protective order while you are awaiting your hearing. Your lawyer can provide detailed instructions for actions you need to avoid, such as making contact with the other person. Failing to abide by the terms of a TRO can result in (further) criminal penalties.
- Gather evidence – Collect evidence that will aid you in your defense hearing. Gather any physical evidence you can, such as photographs, videos, clothing, phone records, e-mails, letters, and anything else related to the specific charges against you in the protective order.
- Attend the hearing – Arrive at the courthouse well in advance of the appointed time. Do not allow your emotions to get the best of you. Stay calm, courteous, and respectful. While there is no guarantee that the judge will decide in your favor, following these steps can make a favorable result a more likely outcome.