Restraining orders are orders issued by a court that prohibit one person from approaching or contacting another person. To have a restraining order filed against someone, an individual must petition a court, which usually involves presenting evidence that the intended object of the order is harassing or abusing the other person or otherwise presents a danger to their safety. The order is legally binding; a violation by the harasser is usually punished by arrest. Having a restraining order removed is difficult even for the party who first petitioned for the order and almost impossible for the party who is being restrained by it.
If you've filed a restraining order
Ask the judge who issued the restraining order to remove it. Usually you will need to explain the reasons for your request in a formal written appeal, which should, if possible, be prepared with the aid of an attorney.
The judge will then hold a hearing in which you will present your arguments as to why you believe the order should be removed. Argue either that the order was granted in error or that circumstances have changed so that the order is no longer necessary.
Because you originally filed for the restraining order claiming that it was for your own protection, a judge or district attorney may be reluctant to grant your request for its removal. Try to convince the court that you will be safe without the restraining order and you are petitioning for its removal out of your own free will, not under the influence of the harasser.
If you're under a restraining order
First, hire an attorney experienced in fighting restraining orders. You face an uphill fight: because restraining orders are intended to protect the petitioner, they are designed to be very difficult to remove without that person's consent.
File a petition arguing that the restraining order was incorrectly issued. This petition should be prepared by someone with extensive experience in formulating arguments for the removal or a restraining order.
If the judge grants a review of the restraining order, attend the hearing. Once there, you can argue that the order was improperly issued for one of two reasons: that the testimony given to obtain the order was false and the evidence presented was without merit; or that the order was issued under an improper reading of the law.
- Even if the harasser and the petitioner reconcile, a restraining order does not go out of effect until its expires or a judge orders its abridgment. A harasser could still be charged for violating the restraining order by someone other than the person who filed for the order and punished accordingly.