Judges issue restraining orders to protect victims of abuse and harassment from further harm. Any violation of a restraining order is taken very seriously by the court, and punished accordingly.
Once a victim applies for a restraining order and it is granted by a judge, the relationship between plaintiff and defendant becomes a court matter. This means that while the court will consider plaintiff testimony if she requests a repeal, it will not be automatically granted
The plaintiff may not authorize the defendant to violate any part of the restraining order. Only the court has that authority.
If a defendant is caught violating a restraining order, he can be immediately arrested by the police.
The punishment for violating a restraining order varies by state. First-time, non-aggravated violations can carry fines of up to $5,000 and a year in jail. Subsequent, violent, or interstate violations carry increasingly extreme punishments.
Restraining orders must be repealed by the court before the respondent can legally do anything that had been forbidden in the order. This is a difficult process which involves filing paperwork with the court and appearing before a judge.
- gavel image by Cora Reed from Fotolia.com