What is a Temporary Restraining Order?
A temporary restraining order is a serious legal measure that exists to protect victims of violence from their abuser or attacker. It’s a subject that many people don’t think too much about until they, or someone in their lives, are in a position to need one. However, having existing knowledge of what a temporary restraining order is and how it works can prove to be vital information if you, or a loved one, are ever in the difficult situation of obtaining one.
What exactly is a temporary restraining order, or TRO?
Temporary restraining orders are granted to people experiencing violence. They exist to keep the person perpetrating the violence away from the victim, or risk facing legal repercussions.
That means that your home, place of work, or school will become off-limits to the person you file the order against, who is also known as the respondent. If they ignore the order and show up anyway, you can request law enforcement to enforce the order, and the person might be arrested or face other legal consequences, like being considered in contempt of court.
How do you go about filing a temporary restraining order?
The process of filing for a TRO varies from state to state, so it may help to look up the process for your state, but to file a temporary restraining order in Arkansas, you first have to go to a courthouse.
In Arkansas, you have your choice of courthouses: you can either go to the courthouse in the county where you live, the courthouse where the violent incident or incidents occurred, or the courthouse where the respondent lives.
When you’ve reached the courthouse, look for the civil clerk of court. You’ll then need to request a petition to file an order of protection. When you’ve obtained the petition, you’ll be asked to fill out the details of why you are seeking the temporary restraining order. It may be difficult, but it’s important to include as much as you can– it will help your case to include all the details you can think of. This petition will be used as an application for both a temporary restraining order and a final restraining order.
It’s important to understand the distinction between an order of protection and a temporary restraining order. An order of protection requires a hearing, which takes a longer time to go into effect. A temporary restraining order, sometimes also referred to as an ex parte order, is granted right away by the court if you are able to demonstrate that you are experiencing an emergency and are in immediate danger of violence. “Ex parte” means that only one party is present, and the order is given without the other party being notified.
A judge might also grant you a same-day temporary restraining order if your abuser is currently incarcerated and will be released from prison within the next 30 days.
How long does a temporary restraining order last?
Obviously, a temporary restraining order is just that: temporary. They typically last until a full hearing, with both parties present, is able to occur. A full hearing usually happens within 30 days.
How long does a final order of protection last?
In Arkansas, once a court hearing has occurred with both you and the abuser present, you may be granted a final order of protection.
A final order of protection lasts anywhere from 90 days to 10 years. Once that time period is up, it’s possible to get it renewed if the threat of danger from that individual still exists.
What protections does a temporary restraining order provide?
In Arkansas, the protections granted by a temporary restraining order and a final restraining order are the same. The specific protections depend on the specific details of your case. The abuser may be forbidden to contact you in any way or go near your home, school, or work.
Essentially, the judge will decide which protections will best protect you, your children, and any other affected parties safe.
Do I need legal counsel?
You don’t need a lawyer to file the initial petition, but it is helpful to find one before the final order of protection hearing. This is especially true if the abuser also has a lawyer.
Finding an attorney who has previous experience working with victims of abuse is especially important in a situation that can be devastating and stressful. For a free consultation, please contact us via our website, phone, or email today.
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