How Can I Get a Restraining Order Removed?

Updated March 23, 2017

A restraining order can be an important security measure for persons that feel threatened. On the other hand, a restraining order issued against you can create hardships and loss of rights, even outside the state in which the order was issued. If a judge has decided to issue an order, there is no guarantee the order can be lifted. The type of restraining order affects your overall strategy for removing or resisting it.

Emergency Protective Order

In some cases, an emergency restraining order might be issued against you without any prior notice. A person who can demonstrate to a judge a sufficient emergency or threat of imminent danger can, in accordance with state laws, receive a restraining order on the spot. This can happen without you having the opportunity to provide evidence in your defence. Such a restraining order is only temporary, however, and usually only lasts a few days or weeks. The order will automatically expire and be removed unless a formal hearing is held.

Temporary and Permanent Restraining Orders

Similar to an emergency protective order, a temporary restraining order can be issued once someone requests a restraining order. A temporary order is usually only effective until a hearing can be held. A permanent restraining order can only be issued after you have the opportunity for a formal hearing to refute the claims of the person seeking the order against you. If you convince the judge that no such restraining order is necessary, then the temporary order will expire and not be renewed. Even if a permanent order is issued, despite its name, it will usually have a built-in expiration of from one to five years. The permanent order will expire automatically unless a new hearing is held to renew it, and this renewal hearing is a new opportunity to have the restraining order removed.

Appeals and Rehearings

Depending on the laws of your state, it might be possible to appeal the decision to issue a permanent restraining order against you, or to request a rehearing. Generally, appeals are only available for errors of law, when the law has been misapplied in your case. If you have new facts or evidence to present, these should be provided to the court in a new hearing. This can be done after filing a request for a rehearing with the court that issued the restraining order. If you need to appeal a decision or request a rehearing, it is recommended you contact a local attorney or the clerk of court because procedures vary by state.

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About the Author

Joseph Nicholson is an independent analyst whose publishing achievements include a cover feature for "Futures Magazine" and a recurring column in the monthly newsletter of a private mint. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida and is currently attending law school in San Francisco.