Restraining Order and Harassment Order Services


Whether you need a restraining order or want to contest the charges, I can help. Everyone has a right to quality representation. My office will work with you to understand your needs and give you options that empower you. This may include filing criminal charges against the abuser or filing for custody or divorce.

What is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order is a court order which prevents a one person from having contact with or abusing another. It is designed to protect and prevent abuse. Restraining orders are only issued if the people involved are family, have a child in common, or are/were in a “substantial dating relationship.” Violations of a restraining order, no matter how small (such as sending a text message), are considered a felony. The court may order a temporary or “10 day” restraining orders without a hearing in order to provide immediate protection until a hearing date can be scheduled and the other party notified. At that hearing, the Defendant has a right to challenge the basis of the order and explain to the Court why it should not be issued. If the Court decides to issue one, it may be issued for up to one year before needing to be renewed in Court.

How do I get a restraining order against someone?

You can file for a restraining order at the local courthouse. If the Courts are closed you can go to the local police station any time, night or day, and file the order with them.

How can having a lawyer help me get a restraining order?

It’s hard to go before a judge on your own and ask for help after you have been the victim of abuse. So much has happened and there is so much of a story to tell. You do not need to go at this alone. I am well versed in restraining order law and have experience working with the victims of domestic violence. I can be your voice. I can listen to your story and help tell it in a way that highlights the abuse the Judge needs to see so that those facts are not lost in the larger story. With me at your side, I can use my knowledge and experience to make sure you get the protection you need.

Why is it important to oppose a restraining order?

While a restraining order is a civil order, it places many restrictions on a defendant with steep consequences. It requires the defendant to cease contact with the Plaintiff and stay away from them, their residence, and their place of work or school. When children are involved, this can significantly impact custody and visitation as the restraining order overrides any custody order. In addition, when a restraining order is issued, the defendant must surrender any guns he or she owns as well as the person’s gun license or license to carry. They may only possess firearms once the order is removed. The fact that an order was issued can also be used as grounds to revoke or limit the Defendant’s License to carry either when the order expires or when the License is up for renewal. On top of all that, any violation of the order, no matter how small, is a felony. Violations may include; failure to maintain a specific distance from a person, and communicating with the person, including in-person or phone conversations, emails, and online or text messaging. On top of all of this, often a temporary order has already been issued, meaning that a judge has heard the Plaintiff’s side and has found that the Plaintiff needs a restraining order. In these cases especially, it is important that you have an experienced attorney who is able to see the holes in the Plaintiff’s story and credibility so that an ugly, emotional situation is not mistaken for an abusive one.

What other types of Protective Orders are available to me?

If you are facing a situation where there is no dating or family relationship, or you are being harassed and threatened but not abused, the District Court may issue a Harassment Prevention order.

How are Harassment Prevention Orders different from Restraining Orders?

Applying for a Harassment Prevention Order is nearly identical to that of applying for a Restraining Order. However, there are a number of key differences. Unlike a restraining order, a Harassment Order does not require there to be a special relationship between the parties meaning that any person can seek a Harassment order against another person. In addition, the person seeking a harassment order needs only to prove that the person they are seeking the order against has engaged in harassment, and not abuse. Harassment is defined as 3 or more acts of conduct meant to cause fear, intimidation, or damage to property. Because of this a harassment order is able to offer protection in a much wider range of situations that a restraining order. In many cases those initially seeking a Restraining order find a Harassment Order to better fit their needs. The protections offered by the Harassment order as well as the penalties for violating it are identical to those of a Restraining order. The sole exception to this is that the issuance of a Harassment order does not strip the Defendant of their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Summary of the key features of both Restraining Orders and Harassment Orders

Restraining Orders require:

Allegation and later proof of abuse

The parties have either a family or substantial dating relationships

May be issued by either the District or Probate and Family Courts

Restraining Orders require the Defendant to:

Stop all contact

Cease all communications

Vacate a shared home

Stay away from to the person’s home or place of work

Surrender all firearms and any licenses to possess or carry them for the duration of the order

If children are involved, a judge may make a temporary custody order until the parties can address the matter in the Family and Probate Court

Harassment Orders require:

Allegation and later proof of intent to cause fear, intimidation, or damage property

Do not require any special relationship between the parties, though they can be issued against family or people with a dating relationship or history

Can only be issued by the District Court

Harassment Orders require the Defendant to:

Stop all contact

Cease all communications

Vacate a shared home

Stay away from to the person’s home or place of work

If children are involved, a judge may make a temporary custody order until the parties can address the matter in the Family and Probate Court


Please contact me for your free consultation.
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* All requests are confidential and are handled on a per client basis.