Judges issue restraining orders to protect victims of abuse and harassment from further violence. Because they are a protection for people who have already been hurt, or who are in imminent danger of harm, the court takes them very seriously, and getting one removed from your record can be very difficult. In many states, people with a restraining order against them are even entered into a restraining order registry. However, legal procedures are in place to help you remove a wrongly-issued restraining order from your record.
- Skill level:
Accept service of the restraining order. The first time the restrained person usually learns of a restraining order is when it is served on them by law enforcement or a professional process server. Accepting service will enable you to ascertain the allegations against you, the terms of the restraining order and the date of the hearing at which you can fight it and try to have it removed.
Adhere to the terms of the restraining order. It is very important that you not do anything forbidden in the restraining order, especially while you are trying to fight it. You can be arrested for any violation, and violating the terms can also hurt your case when you go to court to fight the restraining order. Read the restraining order carefully to make sure you understand what you are and are not allowed to do.
Request a hearing from the courts. In most states, when a temporary restraining order is granted, the court automatically sets a court date at which both parties present evidence and testimony. However, in a few states, including Arizona, a hearing will not automatically be scheduled; you are given a certain period of time (typically two weeks to 30 days) to request a hearing be set if you want to fight the order.
Gather evidence and get a lawyer. Fighting a restraining order is very difficult and you will need strong evidence and legal assistance to make it happen. Evidence that can help your case includes police or medical records, written testimony and anything else that can indicate that the petitioner does not need to be protected from you.
Go to the scheduled hearing and present your case in front of the judge. Present your case clearly, accurately and descriptively. Do not approach or speak directly to the petitioner, who will most likely be present in court, unless you are given permission to from the judge. After both parties have presented their cases, the judge will make a ruling on the case.
If the restraining order is granted, you may file a motion to dismiss or an appeal of the original case. In some states, you must wait a certain period of time before you can file an appeal or for a dismissal; court officials or your lawyer can help you determine the appropriate time frame for filing an appeal. Filing an appeal typically involves an assertion that evidence was mishandled or justice was not followed in your case; in appeals cases, no new evidence can be submitted.
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