Law Offices of Eric W. Symonds
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A Civil Harassment Restraining Order is a court order potentially preventing someone from contacting or coming within a certain distance of another person. Civil Harassment can take many forms and can last for years. This type of restraining order differs from a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in that a blood, cohabitation, or dating relationship is not required. The “standard” by which the court evaluates evidence is higher than that of a domestic violence restraining order.
Obtaining a CHO usually begins with the filing of an ex parte emergency request with the court. If granted, the order will generally last three weeks until the hearing date. If is critical that you speak with an attorney for assistance in your initial application. The court will make a ruling based on what is said in the restraining order request. Thus, proper presentation is key. Also, unless there are developing circumstances since you first file, the court will only consider what you said in your original request. Plainly speaking, you can’t bring up something you didn’t say in the first request unless it happened after you filed it. Further, there are notice and service requirements for a CHO that must be strictly met. Only an attorney is qualified to advise you as to proper compliance with the law.
At the hearing, you and the other side will have an opportunity to present your side of the story to the court. Unless there have been new developments, the court will mostly hear from the other side. This makes having an attorney on your side all the more critical. If granted, a CHO can last for years and may be continued after that if good cause exists.
Yes, you do need to respond and quickly! Many of your legal rights are in jeopardy and the hearing and time to respond will be here and gone before you know it. Only an attorney is qualified to give you legal advice as to how best to defend yourself against a restraining order. If the Court grants the other party’s request, your legal rights can be affected for many years. Sadly, the restraining order process is often abused by litigants seeking a cost-free method of retaliating on the other party. Unless your side of the story is properly represented to the Court, the other side’s version may be the only evidence considered. Contact me immediately.
There are many consequences involved with a CHO. Generally speaking they involve the restrained person from:
(1) being able to contact the other side by phone, email, or other means,
(2) coming within a certain physical distance of the other person’s home, job, or vehicle,
(3) ownership or even possession of firearms.
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