Civil vs. Criminal Restraining Orders

Civil vs. Criminal Restraining Orders

Restraining orders broadly restrain a person from doing something to another person. They can be between two friends, two spouses or two strangers. The actions the restrained is prevented from doing can range from being in proximity to the protected person to emptying a savings account when spouses separate. There are two types of restraining orders: civil and criminal. Civil Restraining Orders prohibit civil harassment. This can be stalking, abuse or any number of other harassment techniques. When the person being harassed is a close family member or somebody else you have had an intimate relationship with, it is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order that does the protecting. These can come with stipulations about firearm ownership, where you live, the visitation of your child if there is one involved and other financial and life limitations. If you do not follow all these stipulations, the protected person can call the police and a criminal charge can be pressed against you. A Criminal Restraining or "Protective" Order protects a person who is involved in a criminal case, either as a witness or a victim. These orders can be in effect for up to 10 years. It can prohibit all contact between the criminal and the person involved, called a "no contact" order, or just negative contact, called a "peaceful contact" order. These are very serious orders and do show up on your criminal record. It may even prevent you from certain roles or positions working with vulnerable populations. In either case, if you are facing one of these restraining orders, chances are you can use some help. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the process of responding to and following a restraining order.

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