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Restraining Order Basics

Domestic violence is perhaps one of the most insidious types of abuse because it occurs between people with a close relationship and behind closed doors. It often goes unreported because the victim or victims are reluctant to let other people know about it, especially if the abuser is a spouse or a parent. But when it does get reported, the law can go into action to prevent further harm to the victim even before allegations of domestic violence or abuse can be proven, and that is through the issuance of restraining orders, also called protective orders.

Restraining orders are generally issued by state courts to prohibit contact between the subject of the order and the petitioner and/or the victim of domestic abuse or violence. These are normally for a limited time only until the allegations have been investigated, but may be extended. The duration varies from state to state, and the punishment for violating the order range from a fine to mandatory jail time.

Applying for a restraining order is usually done with the assistance of the same lawyer who will also represent the victim in domestic violence or abuse cases. The Woodlands divorce lawyer would cite Texas Family Code § 71.001 when applying for a restraining order in Texas, which would suspend the firearm license of the subject of the order among other things. The duration of a Texas restraining order is a maximum of 20 days but may be extended up to two years under specific circumstances.

In North Carolina, a domestic violence restraining order is called a 50B, referring to North Carolina Code § 50B-1 which addresses this issue. The duration of the order can be up to one year and may be extended for another 12 months as needed. According to the website of Marshall & Taylor PLLC, an emergency restraining order may be ordered by the court against a subject if there are indications that there is an immediate threat of harm to the petitioner or other parties, but this is only in effect for 10 days. An extension will require at least one court appearance where the subject of the order may or may not put up a defense.

Violating a restraining order in Texas may result in a fine and may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on what form the violation took. If an act of violence is involved, the subject may be imposed a minimum of two years in jail. In North Carolina, a restraining order violation is a Class A1 misdemeanor, which means a fine and a maximum of 150 days in jail.

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