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What Proof do You Need for a Restraining Order?

what proof do you need for a restraining order

When it comes to advising on restraining orders, most focus on the process of getting one rather than the evidence you need. But without proof, who cares how easy or difficult the process is?

Obtaining a restraining order is similar to any other legal proceeding, and the person making the order fills out the required documents and files the claim with the tribunal. 

The tribunal will review the application and schedule a hearing for the plaintiff, and the judge presiding over the plaintiff’s case will issue a notice after considering the plaintiff’s claim. While this is a straightforward procedure, what proof do you need for a restraining order?

What is meant by a restraining order?

Restraining orders are also referred to as “protective orders” that prevent a specific person, known as the “protected party,” from being harassed or abused by another person, known as the “restricted person.”

Spouses, ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends, roommates, family members, and even pets can all be protected parties.


What exactly does a restraining order do?

Restraining orders can include personal behavior orders, like “stay away” and “move out.” If a restraining order is issued, the tribunal orders the enjoined party to refrain from any conduct described in the order. Violation of the order is itself grounds for the arrest of the restrained person.

Personal conduct orders usually contain a prohibition against attacking, stalking or communicating with the protected party. It may include personal contacts and contact using social media. “Keep away” commands the affected individuals to continue the distance between them. 

“Stay away” orders may also restrict where the restricted person can go, such as the spouse’s house or the disabled person’s workplace.

A restraining order can also prohibit the order’s subject from contacting the person who requested the order by mail, email, phone, social media, or in person. The subject of a restraining order should take great care to comply with its terms. After the approval of judge for a restraining order, he/she will ensure that the subject receives an oder’s official copy and understands its contents.

Difference between domestic and civil violence order

Domestic violence restraining orders are appropriate for situations where the restrained person and the protected party have an intimate relationship. Here, it includes husbands and wives, ex-husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, former confidants, and all those who have lived together in intimate relationships. Blood relatives also have the right to request a domestic violence restraining order.

Civil violence restraining orders apply where the parties do not have an intimate relationship. Examples include orders applying to roommates and orders that bind co-workers. Preventing unwanted attention from a stranger is another appropriate use of a civil harassment restraining order.


Evidence in a civil warrant case

A civil restraining order applies to those not in an eligible relationship to obtain a domestic violence order. These cases often involve co-workers, neighbors, business partners, and sometimes strangers because the connection between the parties is usually much less than that between spouses or family. The tribunal requires a much higher standard of proof in these cases.

To receive a permanent civil restraining order, the petitioner must support his claims with “clear and convincing” evidence.” 

Clear and convincing proof goes far beyond simple statements. Anyone seeking such an order must prepare himself to present some evidence in court in addition to their written statement and testimony. This standard means the tribunal must see the photographs, text messages, and emails supporting the claimant’s claim. 

The tribunal will not deal with a simple exchange of accusations. As evidence, the claimant must provide specific acts of harassment, threats, or physical harm. Typically, these actions must occur over a period to establish a pattern of harassment by the accused.

Often, the most compelling evidence used to win or fight a restraining order is the use of third-party witnesses. A witness with little connection to either side and no interest in the outcome of the case can be a decisive factor for the judge. 

Third-party witnesses often find it tough to get to the tribunal without being summoned to appear. Without some evidence, it is difficult to win a lawsuit.

What proof do you need for a restraining order in case of domestic violence?

The validity of the temporary restraining order expires on the date set for the hearing of the permanent restraining order. During this hearing, the judge will hear testimony from all parties and consider written statements submitted to the tribunal. The level of proof necessary in this type of hearing is called a “preponderance of the evidence.”

The preponderance standard is used in domestic violence prohibition cases because of the intimate relationships involved. A better way to look at this level of evidence is that the alleged fact is more likely than not to have occurred. Or, if the judge believes that the alleged incident occurs with a 51% probability, he will meet the burden of proof.

A preponderance of the evidence requires no more than the truthful testimony of the person seeking the warrant. A restraining order may be obtained if the judge hears from an individual about previous occurrences of physical or emotional abuse without a better justification from the other side.

Domestic violence restraining orders apply to married, cohabiting, dating couples, or those with children. Stakeholders can be parent and child, grandparent and child, or siblings. 

Victims are encouraged to bring the following evidence to the hearing:

  • Angry or threatening voice messages, text messages, or emails from the other party
  • Eyewitnesses who heard or saw the other party being violent
  • Photographs of any injuries caused by the opposing party
  • Any police reports describing violence by the other party
  • Hospital or doctor record showing injury or violence

The threat of danger in the house can also justify the need to obtain a contract, and Audio or video watching the aggressor in action can increase the level of proof. However, even long-term medical assistance in the relationship with the other party can help prove the necessity of obtaining the order.


Standard proof

Restraining orders are civil acts. The standard or burden of proof in these cases is a preponderance of the evidence. Under this standard, it must be proven that the alleged domestic violence or sexual assault occurred “more than likely.” From other points of view, the judge may rule in favor of the plaintiff if the evidence reflects a 51% or higher certainty.

Comparison with the standard applicable in criminal cases

The preponderance of the evidence standard is lower than the beyond a reasonable doubt standard that applies in criminal cases. In criminal cases, the plaintiff must prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Legal support for proof of restraining order

A lawyer hired for the case can support the victim and help to collect evidence to increase the claim’s strength against the other side. The victim must state what happened, how, and when, and the data must remain valid to protect the legitimate order.

Conclusion

A restraining order is a way to stop someone from engaging in threatening behavior, so you must know what proof you need for a restraining order.

In severe cases, the only way to stop the behavior is to order the offender to stay a certain distance from the victim. But it can also focus on particular things, such as contacting the victim’s friends or family, making phone calls, or other unwanted behavior. But before the court does that, you must prove that you are in danger. Most courts will not order the behavior to stop unless there is proof that it is occurring.

You should be aware that you are asking the court to restrict someone’s freedom and give a good reason to do that.

FAQs

Can a firearms owner subject to a restricting order continue to possess the firearms?

A firearms owner will likely have to sell their guns, deposit them with the police, or otherwise part with their firearms for the duration of the court order..

Can a restraining order force a person to leave her own home?

Domestic violence restraining orders are issued in situations requiring the restrained person to leave the home they share with the protected party. Even though the consequences can be harmful and far-reaching, courts are willing to issue orders requiring people to leave their homes.

What happens if a court order is disobeyed?

Failure to comply is a violation of the order, which may result in the arrest and prosecution of the offender. Violation in some jurisdictions may also constitute criminal or civil contempt of court.

What is the preponderance of the evidence?

In civil court, aggravating circumstances must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, as opposed to beyond a reasonable doubt (as in criminal court). 

The norm is fulfilled if the statement is true rather than false. In other words, the standard is fulfilled if there is a greater than fifty percent probability that the proposition is true.