Do You Need a Lawyer to Get a Restraining Order? A Comprehensive Guide

Restraining orders are legal documents that are designed to protect people from abuse or harassment. They can provide a level of security if you’re afraid someone may hurt you.

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But before a court restricts your abuser’s freedom, it will require you to prove the allegations of your careful and thorough petition with evidence.

If you need a restraining order, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we discuss in more detail what you need to prove and the evidence you’ll need to gather in order to win your case.

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What Do You Need to Show to Get a Restraining Order?

The specific elements you need to prove to get a restraining order vary from state to state, but in general, you need to show:

  • A specific instance or instances of abuse or harassment (such as sexual assault by an intimate partner)
  • The threat of further abusive behavior or harassment

In some states, you must also establish that:

  • You are in a qualifying relationship with your respondent (e.g., current or former intimate partner, etc.)
  • You are reasonably in fear of imminent physical violence.

When preparing your petition, you need to be careful.

You need to allege specific facts. For example, instead of alleging that “he abused me repeatedly,” you should state, “on such and such date, at such and such a place, in front of so and so witnesses, he struck me across the face and threatened to kill me.”

Something with that level of detail. You also need to be comprehensive.

If you don’t include a specific allegation in your petition, a court likely won’t consider it at your order hearing.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Get a Restraining Order?

You do not need a lawyer to file for a restraining order. However, you may wish to have a lawyer, especially if the abuser has a lawyer.

If you can, contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

They can help you fill out the required forms and advise you on what type is needed.

In many cases, the stakes are too high—you can’t afford to lose.

What Evidence Do You Need to Prove Your Case?

You need to offer evidence that the court will accept.

Evidence takes two forms; direct and circumstantial.

Direct evidence is something that proves a fact directly. For example, you could call a witness who saw the respondent hit you.

Their eyewitness testimony tends to prove the specific instance of harm. Circumstantial evidence, which can be just as persuasive as direct evidence, requires you to draw an inference to conclude that a fact exists.

What is the difference between a restraining order and an injunction?

A restraining order and an injunction are both legal documents that are designed to protect people from abuse or harassment.

They can provide a level of security if you’re afraid someone may hurt you. However, there are some differences between the two.

A restraining order is issued at the end of a criminal case and can be issued whether or not the offender was found guilty.

It is imposed on offenders to prevent them from further abusing or harassing victims.

The order can prevent them from contacting or coming within a certain distance of the victim.

An injunction, on the other hand, can be used to impose restrictions on the offender before they’ve been charged with a criminal offense.

There are two different types of injunctions: an occupation order, and a non-molestation order.

Occupation orders primarily deal with who occupies the family home, while non-molestation orders prevent harassment and further abuse.

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