What is a No Contact, Harassment Restraining and Protection Order?

Restraining orders, using the order as an umbrella phrase covering no contact orders, harassment restraining orders and orders for protection, are court issued orders that will put various regulations on the actions of another person as a consequence for previous behavior that has harmed you, threatened you or has had an impact on your quality of life.

There is a process to go through to get these orders, it's not easy, and often, it's not cheap. A lot of it depends on what is going on. Often these orders are placed on violent ex-spouses, abusive parents or family members, jilted ex-boy or girl friends and such people with which you have or had some sort of relationship. Rarely is it a totally unknown random person that cause problems that qualify for these orders.

More often than not mental illness and/or chemical dependency come in to play here, but that isn't necessarily always the case. On the whole, however, healthy, normal people simply don't behave in such a way that would warrant such drastic action.

The following will guide you through the basics of what is needed to get a no contact order, harassment restraining order or orders for protection for yourself. Each one carries different requirements, and laws vary between jurisdictions, so be sure to consult an attorney for yourself, these pages consist of basic guides as I have learned through our own steps through the process.

No Contact Order

No contact orders are, at least where we are from, virtually guaranteed to be awarded in any criminal case involving any sort of hostility or violence toward you. No contact orders are a criminally enforceable order, meaning, if it is placed against somebody in a criminal trial a violation of the order is a criminal offense as well.

That is the up side.

The downside of the no contact order is that they are also very low on the police enforcement list. The rules of the typical no contact order is simply to not speak to, write to, email or have any third-party communication with the person you have been ordered to not have contact with.

No contact orders do have expiration dates, and can sometimes, in some jurisdictions be appealed, or, the victim is allowed to request that an order be lifted.

Harassment Restraining Order

Harassment restraining orders are different than no contact orders insofar as they are held civilly, not criminally. However, violation of a restraining order can be a criminal offense depending on the nature of the violation.

Harassment restraining orders are initiated by filing a petition with the court, and, if the judge reading it sees fit he grants a temporary restraining order for the petitioner. When the person is served, usually by the local sheriff, the person has the right to have their day in court and contest the petition.

If the petitioner's request is upheld, a permanent restraining order is given. If the case fails, the temporary order is lifted and it's back to life as usual. Even if a permanent restraining order is issued, don't let the name fool you, it still has an expiration date, and is often signed for one or two years, depending on the nature of the case.

Restraining order hearing do not require a lawyer, they are held in civil court. I would never suggest going to court without a lawyer if you can afford not to, things happen fast and are dealt with in big, legalese wording that some of us common folk just don't get sometimes. Having a specialized restraining order attorney is definitely in your best interest, as in cases like this, you really have only one shot at it, so make it count.

Order For Protection

Order for protection court orders are most often used in cases of domestic violence. An order for protection can help stop the abuse, but the first step is pressing the charges that will result in one.

Laws very from state to state, but the typical rule of thumb is that adult can apply for an order for protection against some they are or were married to or are children of. If you are a minor you may need a family member to apply for the order for protection for you. If you are concerned about somebody else's household, you can apply for them, but your best course of action is to report the abuse the child protective services or the police.

In the case of a married couple, it is important that you know you do not need to start divorce proceedings to apply for the order for protection, and, if you do not qualify for this order, you may still qualify for a harassment restraining order.

Whether or not an order is awarded, it is still against the law in any civilized country in the world for anyone to beat, rape, injury, threaten or otherwise abuse you. If these situations are occurring, criminal charges are still able to be pressed which will guarantee at least a no contact order.