How Does a Restraining Order Work?

By Nellie Day
How Does a Restraining Order Work?

Qualifying for a Restraining Order

An individual can apply for a restraining order if she has been the victim of domestic violence, a sexual assault or stalking. The main reason a person files a restraining order is to keep an individual who is prone to engage in these kinds of behaviors with the victim a safe distance away, so that he no longer has the opportunity to commit these acts. Not all cases of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking will qualify for a restraining order, however. Granting the order is usually based on how much access the individual has to his victim and whether his actions have persisted after the victim has attempted to remove herself from these situations. Random acts of sexual assault do not usually qualify for restraining orders.

Affects of a Restraining Order

A restraining order is essentially an order from a judge to maintain a certain distance from the victim that the individual is targeting. The order usually requires a distance of 50, 100, 500 or 1,000 feet from the victim. This distance is usually based on the severity and frequency of the occurrences, and may also be based on practicality if, for example, the two individuals live near each other or work in the same building. Other conditions usually enforced by the restraining order include abstaining from making any contact with the victim, receiving professional help and maintaining a safe distance from any of the victim's close relatives, such as her parents or children.

Time Frame

Most restraining orders are issued on a temporary basis and are called temporary restraining orders (TROs). These last only 10 days. After this 10-day period, both the victim and the offender will appear before a judge who will hear from both sides before determining if he will issue a final restraining order. If a final restraining order is issued the victim should keep it in her possession at all times in case she needs to call the police or report a violation. If an offender violates the order they can be fined, placed on probation or even jailed.

About the Author

Nellie Day is a freelance writer based out of Hermosa Beach, Calif. Her work can regularly be seen on newsstands, where her specialties include weddings, real estate, food and wine, pets, electronics, architecture and design, business and travel. Day earned a master's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California.

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