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3 things to know about restraining orders

Nobody wants to be in a situation where they are filing a restraining order, or perhaps worse, having one filed against them. Restraining orders are, nonetheless, an important and sometimes necessary part of the criminal justice system, and anybody dealing with one should know what to expect. 

According to the California Courts Judicial Branch, the first step is to file for a civil harassment restraining order. Whether you are on the defendant or the person filing, you should be aware of the three facts about what to expect from a restraining order and the filing process:

1. Terms are negotiable

The terms of a restraining order depend on the severity of the offense. If the only allegation is harassment, for example, a restraining order may only bar contact. If allegations of violence exist, however, a restraining order might impose more stringent restrictions and actually prohibit an offender from coming within a certain distance of the victim.

2. It may be temporary

It is generally the default for a restraining order to be temporary. Any individual can allege harassment or abuse and typically have a temporary restraining order approved by a judge. Further consideration is required for a restraining order to be implemented permanently, though. For this to happen, there must be a trial, and a judge must deem it necessary for the protection of the alleged victim.

3. A violation is a crime

Violating a restraining order is a crime that can have serious consequences. Whether you reach out despite a no-contact clause or encroach on the radius of separation an order imposes, you can face criminal charges—in addition to any you faced in relation to the alleged offense—that carry serious consequences. Violators can face jail time, fines and other penalties for breaking a protective order.

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