Restraining orders are often filed by victims of domestic abuse, and usually include provisions that prevent the person named in the order from contact with their minor children. While the purpose of a restraining order is to protect individuals from people who might harm them, it is not uncommon for those seeking revenge to abuse the system by falsely, or perjuriously, filing a restraining order.
Types Of Restraining Orders
Restraining orders are either temporary (also sometimes known as a protective order) or permanent. In either case, people filing an order must present evidence that the individual named in the order represents a threat to their safety or the safety of their minor children. Making false statements under oath, whether in writing or orally, is called perjury, and the penalties vary depending on the circumstances and the state where the perjurious order has been filed.
Some states have more severe penalties then others when it comes to perjuriously filing a restraining order, but regardless of the state where the false order was filed, the respondent (person who the order was filed against) can sue the petitioner (filer) for court costs and damages.
In South Carolina, filing or making a false statement to the court is a felony and can result in a fine of up to $5,000. In other states, the maximum fine depends on the type of restraining order.
Perjuriously filing a restraining order can also result in criminal persecution and jail time. Whether it is considered a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the state and circumstances involved, but for those who make perjurious statements, jail time is always a possibility.
If you have had a false restraining order filed against you, consult with an attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your options for appeal and how to have the order removed.