Restraining orders help to protect people from others wishing to cause them harm. Their use is most commonly related to marital disputes or other family divisions. Courts impose millions of the orders every year and the protection they give is invaluable to many.
Unfortunately, some people falsely obtain the orders to help them gain the upper hand in a divorce or custody case. If you receive a restraining order, you may not have access to your children, you can lose the right to enter your home, and the order will go on your criminal record where it is accessible to prospective employers and others. Here is how to fight against an unjust order.
Follow the Order
You will receive a notification of the order along with a hearing date where you can argue your case. Do not ignore a notice of a restraining order because it can have a negative effect on your reputation. Do not try to contact the person protected by the order and follow all instructions in the order. In California, this means turning in all firearms to the police, placing them up for sale, or storing the weapons with a licensed firearms dealer.
File a response with the court telling your side of the story, but do not neglect the hearing. Hire a lawyer who can help you prepare for your defense. There is no requirement to have a lawyer, but their help is valuable. Failure to appear at the hearing could mean being under the restrictions of the order for up to five years.
Prepare Your Case
Contact witnesses if the order said there was physical violence or threats during an altercation and others were around when the event took place. Keep any earlier communication between yourself and the accuser. This includes text messages, email or any written or digital record. If they were the aggressor, contact any witnesses to this type of behavior.
Do not respond if the accuser contacts you. People that file false allegations can sometimes use this method to cause more legal problems for the person they claim is harassing them. Make a note of the attempted contact and notify your attorney of the event.
Attend the Hearing
Meet with your lawyer before the hearing and bring all documentation so they can decide if there is a need for more information. Arrive on time, remain calm and do not approach the accuser or try to communicate with them. Speak carefully and honestly to the judge when asked a question. Avoid making any personal attacks against the accuser or others.
Composure, clear facts, and good organization help to make people look more responsible and reasonable. However, it takes more than this to win a case. Proof matters more than anything else. Do not forget or ignore the instructions from an attorney to bring documentation, witness statements or anything else that disproves the accuser's accusations.
After the Hearing
Stay away from the accuser even if the court decides the restraining order was not legitimate. Avoid being along with the person if a complete separation cannot happen because of children. Have a reliable witness with you when picking up or dropping off children or meeting in public. Avoid texts, phone calls, or emails to prevent any potentially damaging exchanges.
False claims of abuse or harassment happen too often in contentious custody cases and divorce proceedings. People must protect themselves, no matter how ridiculous the claims may be, because of the damage the order can cause to a public reputation. Get help as soon as possible. Contact David Wilson Attorney At Law for more information or to schedule a consultation.