Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) are issued by the court to protect victims of abuse or harassment from further violence. Temporary Restraining Orders are valid for 90 days in Hawaii. They become effective once they are properly served on the respondent. These orders will be converted to protective orders if the judge decides this is warranted following the hearing, or they will be allowed to expire if the plaintiff does not wish to pursue the order or the judge overturns it.
File for a Temporary Restraining Order in your circuit's district or family court. File in the family court if you are involved in a domestic violence situation, and in district court if you are pursuing a Restraining Order for a pattern of harassment by a non-family member.
Domestic violence includes actual or imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; extreme psychological abuse; or malicious property damage by a family or household member.
The court clerk will give you the necessary forms; they are also available online. Complete the forms and sign them in front of the clerk or a notary. There is a fee to file, but it can be waived in "exceptional circumstances." The clerk will then submit them to a judge.
Appear before the judge and explain why you feel you need protection from the respondent. The petitioner must demonstrate to the judge that past acts of abuse "have occurred, or that threats of abuse make it probable that acts of abuse may be imminent" and that a Temporary Restraining Order "is necessary to prevent acts of abuse or recurrence of abuse and to ensure a period of separation of the persons involved."
Ask the judge for specific terms for the Temporary Restraining Order. According to Hawaii law, you may request that the respondent be restricted from contacting, threatening or physically abusing you or anyone in your home, and from entering your home.
Have the respondent served with the temporary restraining order. It will not be enforceable until it has been properly served. Depending on your circuit, you will need to take a copy of the temporary restraining order to either local law enforcement or to a process server. Give them the address of the respondent and the time you expect them to be present there. Verify with law enforcement or the process server that the order was properly served, to ensure your protection.
Any violation of a temporary restraining order, even with the plaintiff's permission, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- gavel image by Cora Reed from Fotolia.com