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Family & Divorce Law

What Happens If You Violate Your Own Restraining Order?

By Tolison & Williams / June 4, 2018

Sometimes having a restraining order in place is the only way to keep yourself protected from unwanted communication and harassment.

Yet, life circumstances often change and take unexpected turns, putting you in a position where you can be hit with a contempt charge for having that order in place.

If you or a loved one is facing a situation in which a restraining order has been - or could be - issued, it's important that you understand the basic implications behind this legal measure. 

Have your own questions about restraining orders? Get in touch with us today.

How Restraining Orders Work 

A restraining order is a civil order issued by the courts restricting one person’s ability to communicate with or be in the physical presence of another. They are issued by the courts when there have been threats, violence, or allegations of threats and violence. 

There are two categories of restraining orders in Denver family law:  temporary restraining orders (TRO) and permanent restraining orders (PRO). The TRO is typically issued first. A hearing to issue a permanent restraining order is held later if the need arises. 

If you are a party with a restraining order against you, you may be subject to the following restrictions:

  • Barred from communicating with the victim in person, over the phone, or electronically.
  • Forbidden from coming within a specific distance of the victim’s home or work.
  • Forbidden from communicating or coming in contact with any involved children or coming near their schools.
  • Barred from entering public spaces the victim frequents.

Both parties may be present at the hearing for the PRO. It is highly advised that both parties bring along a family lawyer. 

Restraining Order Violations Explained

Recipients of a restraining order may face criminal charges when they contact the victim, come near the victim, or enter a space from which they have been barred under the order. If the police have been contacted and do not believe there is evidence for criminal charges, the victim can still file a motion of contempt. This is something that a Brighton family law attorney can help with.

It is extraordinarily important that those who have restraining orders filed against them obey all restrictions. Even if they are contacted by the victim, or feel as if there should be some ‘exception’ due to circumstances, there can still be very stiff consequences.

Sometimes the other party may wonder what will happen if they contact someone they have a restraining order against. This frequently happens when the relationship between both parties is in flux or the parties have shared children, own a business or property, or have another situation that makes no contact difficult.

If you accidentally violate your own restraining order, you cannot be arrested or charged with contempt for contacting the person you have a restraining order against. Still, it is ill-advised to do so. The defendant may be able to use the contact as justification to have the order dismissed or modified to allow them more contact. There may be a way to have the restraining order modified to allow limited, peaceful contact. This contact may allow those involved to attend parent-teacher conferences, school events, meet in public areas to discuss business, or to deal with mutual legal concerns such as estate planning, custody disputes, divorce, or property division.

Restraining Orders Impact The Whole Family

There is no doubt that restraining orders are a helpful and necessary remedy when there have been threats, violence, or other alarming behavior. On the other hand, it can be devastating to be subject to a restraining order keeping you from your home and children when you don’t deserve it. This is why Tolison & Williams is available to help people on all sides of a restraining order. Don’t hesitate to reach out for a professional consultation; click below. 

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