If you have been served with a Restraining Order, that means someone is seeking a Court Order that you not assault, threaten, abuse, harass, follow or stalk them. If the judge grants the applicant’s request for a Restraining Order, the Court can prohibit you from contacting the applicant in any way. This can affect your ability to live in your home, see your children and/or possess firearms. If you are served with a Restraining Order, you will have to go to court and participate in a hearing about whether a permanent Restraining Order is granted.
Understand what the Order means for YOU.
When you are served with notice of a hearing for a Restraining Order, make sure you understand the terms. The judge may have granted a Temporary Restraining Order, often referred to as a TRO.
You need to understand those Orders because if you misread or misunderstand the Order and you do something that the order prohibits you from doing, you can be charged with Violating a Restraining Order, which is a felony. Even if you did not know that you were violating the Order, the Court can find that you were in direct violation of a Court’s Order and if convicted you could face fines, probation and/or imprisonment.
If you are served with a Restraining Order, contact an experienced attorney to review the Restraining Order and explain to you what it means and how it will affect you. Your attorney will make sure you understand the restrictions you may face and how to avoid or mitigate them.
Take action as soon as you are served.
The Restraining Order hearing process can be confusing, and it is important to know what to do and how to prepare and protect yourself.
An experienced attorney can help you understand the process and advise you what steps need to be taken to prepare for your hearing. Your attorney can help you preserve and gather relevant documents that you may want to present as evidence at your hearing.
These include documents such as:
- text messages
- phone recordings
- medical records
Your attorney will also help you identify whether you need witnesses, and which witnesses you should ask to appear at the hearing to speak on your behalf. These documents and witnesses may help you demonstrate to the Court that you are not a threat or risk of danger to the person applying for the Restraining Order and that the Restraining Order should not be granted. If you are concerned that a witness will not appear in Court on their own, your attorney can coordinate with a marshal to serve the witness with a subpoena, a document that requires a party to come to Court at a particular time.
In some cases, your lawyer and the applicant’s lawyer can talk to each other and may be able to come to an agreement prior to the hearing.
Be prepared for your Restraining Order hearing.
Having an attorney represent you at the hearing will ensure that the Court understands all the circumstances surrounding your situation and that you have an opportunity to present your side of the story. Your attorney will be able to help you present your best argument to the judge as to why the Restraining Order, or certain conditions that the applicant is requesting, may not be necessary. The judge considers input from both parties and their attorneys when coming to a decision, so it is important to work closely with your attorney and make sure he or she understands the background and history of your case.
Being served with a Restraining Order can be a scary and serious experience. Consult with a skilled attorney to help guide you through each stage of the process. The partners at Koffsky & Felsen, LLC handle each case personally and collaborate to strategize and ensure we get the best results based on our clients’ individual needs. With over 50 years of combined experience, attorneys Audrey Felsen and Bruce Koffsky are dedicated to safeguarding your rights and advocating on your behalf. If you have any questions about the Restraining Order process, contact our office at Koffsky & Felsen, LLC at 203-327-1500.