Restraining orders can protect victims from their abusers, but what happens when your partner files a protective order against you? Can you reverse it? Keep reading to find out.
Restraining Order Basics
Restraining orders are a type of protective court order that restricts a suspected abuser from contacting the person who requested the order. They cannot approach the victim’s home, workplace, or other frequently visited areas. All contact, including phone calls, mail, social media, and emails, is prohibited.
Most often, restraining orders are issued in domestic violence, harassment, stalking, and assault cases to prevent the abuser from continuing their abusive behavior. However, restraining orders become especially problematic in cases where the abuser and victim have children together. A restraining order can prevent one parent from seeing their children indefinitely, depending on the duration of the order.
While they provide protection in many cases, restraining orders can also be used as a trump card in an argument or as leverage to keep control of a residence or assets. Some cases have even involved filing a restraining order to try and get custody of the children. Restraining orders are not tools to be used in a quarrel with a romantic partner. They are court-orders that are supposed to provide protection in cases of abuse and harassment, but that is not always the case.
What Happens If I Violate a Restraining Order?
Violating a restraining order can result in some serious jail time and hefty fines. Depending on the terms of the restraining order, even possession of a firearm can land you behind bars. If the order is violated multiple times, you will likely face charges for each violation regardless of where the violation occurred – just because a breach happens in another county doesn’t mean it can’t count against you.
In cases where there is a custody battle, you could lose any chance of having shared custody or visitation rights with your children. While you may wish to lift the order for one reason or another, only a judge can revoke a restraining order.
How To Lift a Restraining Order
Only a judge can dismiss protection orders and injunctions against stalking or harassment. However, the person who requested the order can ask for dismissal by completing the required paperwork and presenting their I.D. They will also need to go before a judge and explain why they want the restraining order should be dismissed.
This isn’t exactly an option in many cases because the person who filed the order probably won’t want to dismiss the order. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have options – restraining orders are extremely difficult to overturn, but they can be modified.
If you have children and/or share property with the person who filed a protective order against you, you might be able to have it modified if dismissal isn’t an option.
To modify a temporary restraining order, the court will schedule a hearing within a few days of the request and allow the alleged victim to explain why the order should be modified. A modified restraining order may still prevent you from seeing your partner, but you may be able to work out a visitation schedule with the court.
For long-term or permanent protective orders, the court will review the dismissal request and schedule a hearing if they find that the case has merit. In other words, the court will evaluate the request to see if it would be valuable to modify the order.
Unfortunately, even if you and the person who filed the order reach an agreement outside of the court, you still cannot dismiss a restraining order without a judge. You must go through the legal process to revoke or modify a protective order.
Attempting to dismiss or modify an unjust protective order against you is complicated, but you don’t have to face it alone. Contact our experienced legal team at Territorial Law for more information.