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Understanding Orders of Protections and Restraining Orders

The family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have extensive knowledge on protective orders and restraining orders. If you’re in need of legal protection, there are some details you need to understand before moving forward.

Orders of protection and restraining orders are two options for people being threatened with imminent injury or who are being physically abused. The two orders are similar in whom they protect but are also different in how long they are good for and the penalties for violation.

Orders of Protection – A court issues orders of protection to victims of domestic violence. Orders demand that an abuser stop threatening, stalking or physically assaulting the victim. Orders often demand that an abuser also stops contacting the victim in any form, including in person, by phone or by e-mail. Orders of protection are in force for at least one year, but can be extended for longer durations as the court sees fit. Orders of protection can be renewed upon request to the court. Parties seeking to overturn or “quash” the orders have a right to a live evidentiary hearing within 10 days of filing their objections to the court.

Restraining Orders – A restraining order is issued by a court to protect someone from threats or physical abuse. Restraining orders are different from orders of protection because restraining orders can also include provisions for property, child support, spousal maintenance and child custody when these are issues arising during a divorce or separation. Restraining orders are good for a fixed period of time set by the court, determined on a case by case basis, usually at least six months, but sometimes for several years. Extensions are available, but must be requested and approved before the initial orders expire.

Cost – No filing fees are charged for orders of protection and restraining orders. Additionally, because these orders are important to victims’ safety, the government bears the cost for serving the orders on abusers.

Penalties for Violation – The main difference between restraining orders and orders of protection is the penalties for violation. If an abuser violates a restraining order, he or she will only face a civil contempt allegation and may be required to pay a fine. However, if an abuser violates a protective order, criminal charges can be filed by the local prosecuting attorney, ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending upon the circumstances of the violation and the number of violations already against the abuser.

If you’re being threatened or abused, there is a legal solution. In contrast, if you have been wrongfully charged or accused with false allegations of harmful abuse, we can also help quash the orders. Contact the team at Canterbury Law Group to begin the process today. Time is usually of the essence in these matters.

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