Abuse of Restraining Orders

Reviewing a restraining order.
••• Hand and document at the meeting image by Dmitry Goygel-Sokol from Fotolia.com

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Filing a false restraining order and abuse of the protection from abuse process has serious consequences on all levels. Every state maintains statutes designed to prevent in the first instance and punish after the fact abuse of restraining orders. A person considering possibly filing for a restraining order based on less than accurate claims needs to think closely about the consequences and penalties.


No matter the underlying motivation in seeking a restraining order against a person based on a false allegation, negative consequences result. The effects of that type of conduct include damage to the legal structure set up to defend and protect victims of domestic abuse and harassment. Additionally, an innocent person is subjected to judicial process based on false contentions in an affidavit for a restraining order.


The purpose of a restraining order is to protect a bona fide victim of abuse or harassment. Unfortunately, in an instance in which a restraining order is abused, the law and the courts take firm action in response to the misuse of the restraining order process.


Abuse of a retraining order process normally is not something immediately identified. Temporary restraining or protection from abuse orders nearly always issue based solely on a sworn statement from the person seeking the protective relief. Ultimately a hearing is conducted at which the subject of the restraining order presents evidence in the form of documents and witnesses to challenge the contentions underlying the application for a restraining. At this juncture, evidence is presented that identifies false information provided in support of a restraining order.


The laws from state to state vary slightly regarding available sanctions for abusing a restraining order. At a minimum the fraudulently obtained restraining order ends up dismissed by the court. A monetary fine also is a real possibility. Depending on the circumstances, a judge can make a referral for prosecution based on an allegation of criminal perjury.

Expert Assistance

If you feel you are the subject of a fraudulently obtained restraining order and or abuse of the restraining order process, consider retaining the services of an experienced and qualified attorney to represent your interests. Local and state bar associations maintain directories of attorneys in different practice areas. Contact information for these organizations is available through the American Bar Association:

American Bar Association 321 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60654-7598 312-988-5000 abanet.org