Defending Against a Restraining Order - Family Lawyer | Burns Law

Defending Against a Restraining Order

Are You Looking for a Los Angeles Restraining Order Lawyer?

Romantic relationships can be complicated and difficult. When you enter one, you entangle yourself with the emotions and feelings of another person. Things can get volatile, especially if the two of you have ended the relationship. If you have children together, if you have property or other assets together, if you have unfinished business on some other front, it can be hard to simply walk away and not see each other again. Sometimes passion, anger, and resentment can lead your ex to act in ways that outrage common sense and propriety.

If they have taken out a restraining order against you, it is a serious action that must be responded to responsibly and judiciously. 

Your first move should be to contact a Los Angeles restraining order lawyer. If you believe your ex has requested a restraining order to keep you away from your children, your home, or some other thing that you have a right to, then you should fight against it—but you must do so legally.

The Authority of the Courts

Courts have the authority to issue restraining orders if they believe the safety of the petitioning party is at risk. 

Judges typically issue such orders in connection with domestic violence, physical abuse, harassment, stalking, and sexual assault.

If you have been accused of committing an act of domestic violence and the restraining order was issued on that basis, you do have rights. You must be notified of the request. You also have the right to a court hearing in which you can defend yourself. You can have your lawyer present during the hearing, and they can represent you.

You may view a restraining order as an outrageous and over-the-top act of malice and revenge. Being served with such a notice may seem like an insult and may hurt your sense of pride and dignity. 

However, you should not ignore a restraining order. If you violate the terms of the order, you can be arrested and charged with a crime. Indeed, it may be the case that your ex has requested it to provoke you into violating it. They may have no evidence that you have done anything to deserve the restraining order, but if you break it you will have clearly infringed the law and be subject to civil and criminal prosecution.

In most states, the initial restraining order that is issued will be temporary. The judge will need to hold a hearing within days of this order to decide whether to make it permanent. You will have a week or so to sit down with your legal counsel to prepare your strategy.

How to Act as a Defendant in Court

Once you have been served with a restraining order, it is important to follow its dictates to the letter. Do not allow your emotions to get control of you. If you and your ex travel in the same circles, do not attempt to coerce them into dropping the order or reason with them about it. This is a violation of the order’s terms and can land you in serious legal trouble.

Preparing for the hearing will be a much better use of your time. Look carefully at what you have been accused of doing—the reasons for the restraining order—and then, along with your attorney, get ready for your defense.

Here are some of the actions that will help your case:

  • Gathering all the physical evidence referred to in the restraining order petition
  • Assembling all documents related to the case, including text messages, emails, social media posts, and voicemail messages
  • Making a list of possible witnesses who can put you elsewhere at the time of the alleged incident or was present during it and can verify your version of how things unfolded

If you have been accused of harassment and stalking, there should be an electronic trail. There should be a record of calls and text messages from your phone to ex’s. If your ex claims that you visit their home several times a day, your GPS should show this to be true. If the records and data you have gathered show the opposite, then it will be much easier to discredit their story.

What Not to Do in Court

  1. First, do not panic. Although a temporary restraining order is a serious matter, it can be resolved by remaining calm and sensible. 
  2. Second, do not destroy evidence that you think can be used against you. Doing so will cause you even more trouble by casting you in a suspicious light. It can also lead to criminal charges. Legal counsel can best advise you on how to best deal with the matter.
  3. Third, do not attempt to talk to or coerce any of the witnesses that may be called by your ex. Again, this will only make your situation worse.

If you and your former partner have children together, the restraining order may forbid you from seeing them until the hearing. This will perhaps be the hardest of the terms to follow, but you must do so. You should not try to get around the order by visiting your children at school or in another location. If you violate the judge's order, it will be brought up in court and can result in an even longer period away from your children.

Let the Law Take Its Course

If you have been hit with a restraining order and you have done nothing wrong, you must have confidence that you will be vindicated. You must allow the law to take its course. Defending yourself in the hearing will require you to present evidence that counters the claims made against you.

It is also possible to sue the petitioner for the maliciousness of their request. If you can demonstrate conclusively that nothing they claimed is true, and you can also show that dealing with the restraining order has caused you debilitating mental and emotional harm, you can launch a lawsuit against them. Our family law attorney in Los Angeles can help you in this endeavor. You should schedule a consultation to get restitution for an unfair and harmful attack on your character.

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