How to Revoke a Restraining Order

gavel image by Cora Reed from

Courts issue restraining orders for various reasons. A restraining order can be issued to discourage someone from harassing another person or because the subject of the order has caused actual loss or injury.

Judges sometimes use restraining orders as part of the conditions of probation (telling someone to stay away from a business where they committed fraud, for example). Generally, a restraining order prohibits a person from contacting or approaching a person or specific physical location. Sometimes there is good reason to revoke a restraining order. When that's the case, the person wanting the restraining order revoked must appear before the judge and show cause.

Consult with your attorney to determine if you have cause to ask the court to revoke a restraining order. Sometimes a restraining order is issued against the wrong person or is based on incorrect information. In other cases, the victim decides he wishes to resume contact. Your attorney can help you decide if your reasons are substantial enough to convince the judge to revoke the restraining order.

Prepare a motion stating why the restraining order should be revoked. You should have your attorney draw up the motion, because it must be written and presented in the proper legal form. In addition, laws governing restraining orders vary from state to state, and an attorney is best qualified to navigate the legal system on your behalf.

File the motion to revoke a restraining order with the court that originally issued the order. Normally, a hearing will be scheduled so the judge can hear arguments for and against revoking the restraining order. In some cases, if the request is coming from the victim and the cause(s) for which the restraining order was issued are relatively minor, a judge may waive the hearing and simply grant the motion to revoke the restraining order.

Attend the hearing in court. The judge will want to question both parties. If you don't attend, it puts you at a decided disadvantage. This is especially true when you are trying to get the judge to revoke a restraining order against you. Judges tend to defer to the wishes of the victim unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary. After the hearing, the judge will consider the case and issue a ruling. A ruling to revoke a restraining order could take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks, depending on the nature of the case.