When someone is the victim of domestic violence, a restraining order (also called “an order of protection”) is absolutely appropriate. Unfortunately, some people see them as nothing more than a tool to use in order to force a spouse to leave the family home or a method to punish a romantic partner for moving on.
If you’ve been victimized by a false allegation of domestic violence, you absolutely cannot afford to just accept the label you’ve been handed — even if it seems like the easier route to take. If the temporary order becomes permanent, it can affect you in the following ways:
- It will appear in any background check, which could lead potential employers and potential romantic partners to believe you have a history of violent behavior.
- You can be forced to vacate the family home, even if you are still required to pay the rent or mortgage.
- You can be forced to surrender any firearms for the duration of the order.
- If you accidentally violate the order, you can be fined and imprisoned, which will add to your criminal record.
- If you are ever accused of another crime, your “history” of criminal behavior could affect the prosecution’s willingness to negotiate and your sentence.
For all these reasons, you owe it to yourself to mount a vigorous defense against charges of domestic violence.
What’s the best way to do it? Follow this guide:
- Read your temporary order and make sure you understand the rules.
- Do not contact the other party by phone, email, text or social media.
- Do not ask a third-party to contact the other party on your behalf.
- If the other party contacts you, do not respond. That is still a violation of your temporary order — even if the other party initiates the contact.
- Gather any evidence you have that refutes the allegations, including phone records, printouts of text messages and witnesses.
- Make sure that you appear in court, on time.
Above all, remain calm in court. No matter how frustrated or insulted you feel, this is absolutely the wrong time to let your anger control your actions. Most of the time, judges are able to see through false allegations — so don’t let the other party’s statements get under your skin.
Source: FindLaw, “3 Tips to Fight a Restraining Order,” George Khoury, Esq, accessed June 15, 2018