Domestic Violence, Part One: Obtaining a Restraining Order
According to a local police desk sergeant, there is a great deal of confusion concerning who can obtain a restraining order. Apparently, the police station is routinely flooded with requests for restraining orders that do not meet the necessary qualifications. For example, one cannot secure a restraining order as a part of a neighborly dispute. Likewise, the remedy is not available for two employees who simply cannot work well together.
Applications for restraining orders are addressed as part of the Domestic Violence Act. In order to apply for a restraining order, the parties must be involved in a qualifying relationship, such as:
- Presently married or formerly wed
- Household member or former household member in a familial sense
- Sharing a child together
- Anticipating the birth of a child together
- Involved in a dating relationship
The age of the victim and the defendant are important aspects of the restraining order process. Look for our Thursday blog to understand how age plays a factor in the final determination of a restraining order.
The purpose of the restraining order is clearly intended to protect the victim from harm. The process is considered a civil matter. A criminal complaint may also be filed and will be heard in a separate proceeding. The statute spells out the various reasons that justify granting of a restraining order, ranging from stalking, assault to unlawful imprisonment and other violent crimes.
The first part of the process involves a temporary restraining order. The victim can initiate the action as follows:
- Visit the offices of Family Court in the local county courthouse during business hours.
- Speak with the local police department about the reason for the request. They will provide the necessary steps to help your situation.
- Ask the municipal court judge to issue a temporary restraining order.
A temporary restraining order is only good for ten days, at which time the case will likely be heard in Family Court for consideration of a final restraining order. (There are exceptions that are related to the defendant’s age.)
Restraining orders cannot be withdrawn without a court appearance. It is advisable to seek the advice of legal counsel familiar with the process. The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone has represented both victims and defendants in these types of matters. Contact us for an appointment to discuss your case.