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Restraining Orders: Your legal lifejacket

Gene Kirzhner Feb. 6, 2023

People involved in domestic violence situations often do not know where to turn for help. The family unit is supposed to be the greatest protection a person can have, which is why being a victim of violence in that same environment can be confusing and seemingly unsolvable. However, the law presents an alternative for these unfortunate cases.

Restraining orders can be ordered by a court at the petition of individuals who feel they are threatened by the actions of another person, even if the alleged abuser is a family member of the victim.

When Can You Get a Restraining Order?

A person can seek a restraining order for physical assault, psychological abuse, stalking or cyberbullying, verbal or written threats, and harassment. The individual designated in a restraining order is required to keep a certain distance away from the victim for a determined period, including any other forms of unsolicited contact.

Any contact in person, by phone, email, letter, social media, or through a third party is considered a violation of the restraining order, even non-threatening contact. There are some exceptions to this rule in cases of distress or imminent risk where the alleged abuser must assist the victim.

The process to request a restraining order depends on your relationship with the person whom you are seeking protection against. For example, you will go to Family Court if you seek protection against spouses, former spouses, adults related by blood/marriage, or juveniles in a dating relationship. If you seek protection against adults who do not have a “domestic relationship” with you, you must go to a District Court.

Getting the Restraining Order

To obtain a District or Family Court restraining order, you must complete the required paperwork, which includes an affidavit describing the specific ways that the alleged molester abused you, threatened to abuse you, or stalked you. You must also provide a photo ID to file.

A temporary restraining order is issued the moment you first apply, which will remain active for up to 21 days, allowing the necessary time for the alleged abuser to be served. If the alleged abuser is not able to be served, the temporary restraining order will be extended, and a new call is issued.

If the restraining order is finally granted, it can last up to three years, depending on the circumstances of each case. However, before the order expires, you can return to the judicial authority to apply for an extension if you are still in fear of the alleged abuser.

Don’t Wait to Get Help

The Law Offices of Howe and Garside, LTD has years of experience in restraining order procedures and will do everything we can to help you make the right decisions for your best legal outcome. Our attorneys will assess your legal concerns and handle your case with the attention it deserves. Contact us today or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

The Law Offices of Howe and Garside, LTD provides highly-experienced legal solutions in Newport, Lincoln, Middletown, Portsmouth, Warwick, Greenwich, Kingstown, Tiverton, and surrounding Rhode Island communities.

The Law Offices of Howe and Garside, LTD

55 Memorial Blvd. Suite 5

Newport, RI 02840