This is an interesting question because a lot of times where people get confused, when you're talking about a domestic violence restraining order you're talking basically about a civil remedy, where somebody files a case in one of the civil courts and makes the argument that they want to be protected against this other person.
Judge Determines Length of Restraining Order
So, the court will grant a domestic violence restraining order and as far as how long it will be, will be up to the judge. It could be a year, two years, three years, five years. You have to make your argument as the person asking for the order and if you're successful and get the order then you have to make your argument as to how long you want the order to be.
If you want it to be for a long period of time, obviously you're going to have to give a reason. You're going to have to give a justification for why that order is going to be for a certain period of time that the judge will provide.
But I think one thing that people need to realize is that there's also a criminal act affecting some of these cases. In other words, if related to the same domestic violence issue someone is charged criminally, then that person who is charged criminally will be in a position where they will be in criminal court and in that criminal court, the judge is going to issue what is called a criminal protective order.
It's just as effective and more effective than a restraining order because a criminal protective order has got the criminal court backing it up. So, now the person gets put on probation.
During the probationary period which could be one year, two years, three years or five years, the judge will issue a criminal protective order basically ordering the defendant or the offending party to stay a hundred yards away from the person.
Violation of Protective Order
If they violate a protective order, number one there will be a new criminal case filed against them; and there will be a probation violation. They're going to have two things staring them in the face. It's obviously a very effective weapon to have that criminal protective order filed against you.
So, that's a lot of time why I've seen restraining order dismissed and the criminal protective order put into place, and now you're in a position if the person violates, they're looking at a double whammy and a lot of criminal defendants obviously don't want to be in a position where they're violating the criminal protective order.
What you need to do as a criminal defendant is to rely on your criminal defense attorney to decide how to deal with the restraining order and how to deal with the protective order. A lot of times, I will represent people at both the domestic violence restraining order hearing and the criminal hearing, and then I'm able to deal with both the protective order and the restraining order issue and make sure the person's rights are protected the right way.