Do you have an old restraining order that you want removed? Here’s how to do it, even if your restraining order is permanent.
Restraining orders are court orders that forbid someone from interacting with another person. Whether it’s in-person, digitally or over the phone, the restrained person is prohibited from contacting the protected person for a definite amount of time.
Although the laws vary from state to state, restraining orders are relatively easy to obtain. Unfortunately, for this reason, they’re not always warranted and can debilitate the lives of those who are actually innocent. If you or someone you know wants to remove an old restraining order, understand that not all hope is lost. We’ll discuss how to file a restraining order, as well as how to get one removed.
Please note: This article is not a substitute for legal advice. Contact an attorney to obtain legal counsel that’s specific to your case.
How to get a restraining order?
Restraining orders are very common in cases of domestic and sexual violence as well as harassment and stalking. The legal requirements for obtaining a restraining order vary by state, but there must be some sort of rationale in order for a restraining order to be granted. In Colorado specifically, individuals seeking a restraining order must prove that their life is in immediate danger to be granted a restraining order.
If a person wants to get a restraining order, s/he must file a formal request (known as a petition) with their local court. The filing process may require certain criteria be met for making such a request, including the necessary fees to file a petition.
Once the court approves the request, the restraining order will be made temporary by default. This is known as a temporary restraining order, or TRO. The TRO will then be delivered (usually by law enforcement) to the perpetrator.
After the TRO is delivered, the protected party and the restrained person will be required to attend a hearing to make the restraining order permanent. This will be a chance for the restrained to make his or her case as to why the order should not be made permanent. The judge will hear the case, then make a decision.
Once a restraining order is granted, the restrained person is not permitted to contact the protected person (or persons) in any way, shape or form. This includes sending flowers or gifts and usually prohibits the restrained person from maintaining a specific distance from the protected person.
Consequences for restraining order violations are different in each state, but typically result in a hefty fine and jail time.
How to remove a restraining order?
A permanent restraining order can be removed by the protected person by filing a new petition with the court. However, removing a restraining order does not come without consequence: Judges are very leery of lifting restraining orders in order to guard the best interests of the protected party. Removal of a protection order could potentially result in harm to the protected individual, so the process is approached with the utmost caution.
The restrained person can also petition to remove a permanent restraining order; however, this process is extremely difficult and there are strict requirements that must be met in order for this to happen. These requirements may vary from state to state, but typically include:
- Time – A certain amount of time must have passed since the restraining order was issued.
- Criminal record – The restrained person must not have been convicted of any misdemeanors or felonies relating to the petitioner since the restraining order was implemented. The restrained person also must complete a criminal background check.
- Reason – The restrained person must give rationale as to why the order should be lifted.
Removing a restraining order is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. Consult an attorney before filing a petition to dismiss a restraining order for any reason, as your decision can have a huge impact on you for the rest of your life.
- Colin Bresee is an experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer with roughly 20 years of experience under his belt. If you have an old restraining order that you want removed, call 303-647-4439 to schedule a free consultation
By Shannon Lynch