How To Fight A Restraining Order

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Being served with a restraining order, particularly one that is undeserved, is infuriating. However, it’s important to remain calm. There are ways to fight it, and your chances only improve if you behave in a civilized manner.

Seek an Attorney

Your best chances for fighting a restraining order lie with an attorney. The type of restraining order will dictate what kind of attorney you’ll need to represent you. If you are involved in a criminal investigation, then a criminal defense attorney is your best resource. People who are dealing with a divorce will want to seek a family law attorney. Any other civil matters can be handled by a civil litigation attorney.

Being Served and Responding

You may be served with the restraining order through the mail, in person or at court. Regardless of the venue, it’s critical that you remain calm. Making an angry or impassioned argument to the process server or the judge will not help your case. Take it to an attorney instead. Your attorney can help you make a response to the restraining order. Many jurisdictions have a form that can be filled out and filed as a suitable response. Generally, it makes sense to file the response before the hearing date cited in the restraining order. This gives the judge a chance to examine your response in advance of the hearing.

Understand and Comply with the Order

As unfair as the restraining order may be, you must abide by it while you are awaiting your hearing. Your attorney can provide detailed instructions for actions you must avoid. For instance, you may be prohibited from contacting the other person via any means. Perhaps you must not approach them from within a certain distance. Some restraining orders may prohibit you from purchasing a firearm. You may also be required to give up any weapons you already own.

Attend the Hearing

Prepare for the hearing with your attorney. Make sure that you have copies of all relevant documents including the restraining order and your response. Your attorney can help you decide if any other documents may be necessary to support your position. Arrive at the courthouse well in advance of the appointed time. Don’t allow your emotions to control you. Remain calm, courteous and respectful. There’s no guarantee that the judge will decide in your favor. However, following these steps can make your success a more likely outcome.

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