Civil protection orders and restraining orders seek to accomplish the same goal: preventing irreparable harm.
Although you might think the terms are synonymous, they are not. That’s why it is important to understand what each order does and when it should be used.
If you are subject to a civil protection order or a restraining order, you will need representation from an experienced defense attorney to protect your rights.
Trying to defend yourself during either proceeding could leave you in dire straits. In Omaha and all across Nebraska, defense lawyer Thomas M. Petersen is a lawyer you can trust.
He won’t judge you, and he won’t lecture you. Instead, he will vigorously defend you and your rights.
Protection vs. Restraining Order: What’s the Difference?
A civil protection order is a legal mechanism by which domestic violence victims seek protection from their alleged abusers.
According to Nebraska Revised Statutes § 42-924, a victim of domestic violence must file a petition and affidavit for a protection order with the district court clerk.
The court can hear the petition ex parte, meaning that the petitioner is allowed to appear before the judge without the respondent’s presence if the court determines that the petitioner is in immediate danger of abuse.
If the judge does not grant the emergency ex parte protection order, they can opt to hold an evidentiary hearing within 14 days to determine if they should issue a temporary order.
If the judge authorizes the ex parte order and the respondent files a request to conduct a hearing to show cause, the judge must order a hearing within 30 days of the respondent’s request.
The ex parte order becomes permanent if the following occurs:
- The respondent receives proper notice of the order but does not request a show cause hearing,
- The respondent fails to appear at a show cause hearing, or
- The respondent appears at the hearing but fails to convince the judge that they should not grant a final protection order.
If you are the respondent, you will likely do far better at convincing the judge to refrain from issuing such an order if you have a lawyer to argue for you.
Terms of Civil Protection Orders
A final protection order significantly limits your freedom. Specifically, a judge can order you to do the following:
- Refrain from restraining the petitioner or impeding the petitioner’s freedom;
- Refrain from threatening, assaulting, molesting, attacking, or otherwise disturbing the petitioner’s peace;
- Refrain from contacting the petitioner in any way, either directly or indirectly;
- Refrain from residing with the petitioner even if you own the house;
- Stay away from the petitioner;
- Stay away from places the petitioner frequently visits, like a place of employment or school;
- Relinquish custody of your children for up to 90 days; or
- Refrain from possessing or purchasing a firearm or ammunition.
The judge can enter any other order deemed necessary to protect the petitioner. A final order lasts for one year but can be extended.
The most significant difference between civil protection orders and restraining orders is the punishment for violating the order. Violating a civil protection order is a criminal offense, and violating a restraining order is contempt of court.
What Are Restraining Orders?
Courts issue restraining orders to prevent irreparable harm or maintain the status quo when there are no allegations of violence.
Plaintiffs usually file petitions for restraining orders when initiating civil lawsuits, including divorce proceedings.
For example, the petitioner could ask the court for an order restraining you from emptying a bank account you hold jointly with the petitioner, selling property, or ordering you to return any jointly-owned personal property you allegedly took.
Like civil protection orders, a petitioner can ask for an ex parte temporary restraining order. A judge can grant the temporary restraining order without notifying you; however, the order is only valid for 10 days.
As the respondent, you have the right to a hearing to ask the judge to dissolve the temporary restraining order. You must give the petitioner two days’ notice before conducting a hearing to dissolve the temporary restraining order.
What Rights Do You Have?
In either situation, you have the right to hire an attorney. Additionally, you have the right to receive notice of the allegations against you and to argue in opposition to the petition.
You also have the right to ask the court to dissolve the civil protection order even after the court issued it. You also have the right to remain silent and not speak in court if doing so could implicate you in a crime.
Call Today for Answers to Your Questions Regarding Civil Protection Orders Vs. Restraining Orders
Having the right lawyer to defend you could mean the difference between living the way you want or being subject to a restrictive court order.
Nebraska defense attorney Tom Petersen and his team with Petersen Criminal Defense Law are ready to defend your freedom. Call 402-512-5938 for a free case evaluation from an experienced Omaha criminal defense attorney.
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