James, a client of mine, recently ended a toxic relationship with the mother of his child. In what he believed was a scorned woman’s attempt to have him arrested, she filed for a restraining order. If granted, the restraining order could have forced James to leave his home, lose temporary custody of his child, and even interfere with his job.
So, how can James protect himself?
While getting a restraining order is important if you feel threatened, Ohio courts require clear evidence before any restrictions are put in place. If you’re the one being accused, it’s essential to know what proof is required and how to respond.
Types of restraining orders and what you need to show.
There are two main types of restraining orders in Ohio:
Temporary Ex Parte Protection Order:
- Given on the same day a petition is filed.
- A judge decides if there’s a good reason for immediate protection.
- Examples considered include threats or harm, sexual abuse, and the accused person’s past convictions for domestic violence.
- Not much evidence is needed at this stage, and the accused person isn’t there to defend themselves. The order lasts until the full hearing, usually 7 to 10 days later.
Civil Protection Order (CPO):
- Can last up to five years.
- Established after a full hearing where both parties present their case.
- Evidence must convincingly show genuine fear of harm or harassment by the accused person.
Evidence that supports a protection order.
Evidence from the person seeking the order can take different forms:
- Witness Testimony: Statements from people who witnessed abusive behavior.
- Photographic Evidence: Photos of injuries caused by violence, with timestamps.
- Text Messages or Emails: Messages with threatening language or detailing abuse.
- Video Footage: Strong evidence of abuse or threats was recorded.
How to defend yourself against a restraining order.
If you’re facing a restraining order, there are ways to defend yourself:
- Present Evidence Contradicting Claims: Use records of messages or social media to dispute the accuser’s claims.
- Provide an Alibi: Show proof you were somewhere else during alleged incidents, like receipts, videos, or timestamps.
- Witness Testimony: Get witnesses who can contradict the accuser’s story.
- Show No Genuine Fear: Demonstrate that the accuser didn’t see you as a threat, possibly through friendly interactions.
GET LEGAL HELP
If you’re dealing with a restraining order, give us a call. We will guide you through the process and make sure your rights are protected. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation.