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What You Need to Know About Restraining Orders

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

What exactly is a restraining order and when should someone take steps to get one? Here's a look at the basics.  Restraining orders are meant to protect the victims of crimes like domestic violence, stalking and harassment. If you decide to file a restraining order, it's important to know which type you need.  If you're in immediate danger, it may be possible to get an emergency order filed by a judge without going to court. These usually last a few days. Other temporary restraining orders last a little longer, but they still have an expiration date. If you need more protection, a permanent restraining order might be necessary. 

Federal law states that you don't have to have an attorney to get a restraining order, although having an attorney to help you understand your rights can be a big help, especially if you have to appear in court. 

You can usually apply for an order at a local women's shelter, county courthouse, your attorney's office or a police station. Obtaining the order will most likely involve a trip to court to fill out paperwork specifying where and when the abuse or harassment took place. 


If the person you filed against does something to violate the order, call the police (especially if you're in immediate danger). Once you're in a safe place, document their behavior, contact your attorney and report all violations to the court that issued the restraining order. The person could be found in contempt of court, and if their behavior warrants it, criminal charges could be filed.

If you have any further questions about restraining orders, don't hesitate to reach out

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