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What you need to know about restraining orders

A restraining order is an order from the court that is put in place to offer protection to a person who feels their safety is in jeopardy from someone who may cause them bodily harm. The restraining order, also referred to as a protection order, prohibits the person named in the order from having any contact with the issuer of the order.

A restraining order will prohibit the alleged attacker from coming within a certain distance of the victim. This will include all areas, including a home, workplace or any other places that the victim is frequently at.

Obtaining a restraining order

A restraining order is issued against someone who will qualify as a member of the family or household. You are considered either a family or household member of the issuer if you:

  • are or once married
  • are currently or were once living together in the same household
  • are now or once related by marriage or blood
  • have children together
  • have been dating each other or are engaged¬†

If you received a restraining order and the person who requested the order against you does not fall into one of the above categories, the restraining may not be legal.

What do I do if I get a restraining order against me?

The restraining order you first receive is only valid until there is a hearing on the matter. The hearing is usually around 10 days after you receive the order. During the hearing you will be given the opportunity to tell your side of the story and explain why you believe a restraining order should not be issued. You should attend this hearing with a qualified attorney who can speak on your behalf. An attorney will be helpful for cross-examining the person seeking the restraining order and can even bring in and speak with witnesses to support your arguments. 

If you have received a restraining order, it is important the you follow the rules of the order immediately. If you disagree with the order, you will have a chance to defend yourself in court.

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