In this article, we discuss permanent and temporary restraining orders and injunctions in Indiana and answer the following questions:
Depending on the state and where you source your information, a protective order and restraining order are synonymous, or a protective order is used specifically in a situation where someone feels harassed or threatened, and a restraining order is used as a way to dictate what the parties on either side of a lawsuit or court case can and cannot do. A no-contact order usually requires an ongoing or prior criminal event, such as an episode of domestic abuse, involving police intervention. The no-contact order can also be a condition of the defendant’s bail. In the long run, the no-contact order is a more stringent form of the protective or restraining order because it comes with greater penalties if violated. While temporary restraining and protective orders offer immediate relief from a bad situation, they mostly serve to bridge the gap between the initiation of the temporary order and the first court hearing at which a permanent protection order or injunction is granted.
In Indiana, restraining orders and protective orders are synonymous, commonly using the legal term “protective order.” They are issued by a judge, often immediately in emergency situations, and without the offending party’s consent. The order will stay in effect until the first hearing, where both sides will have a chance to make their arguments. If the judge sides with the plaintiff, the protective order may be extended for up to two years or longer (permanent protective order), or the judge will grant a formal injunction with the same or amended restrictions.
Generally, the protective order stipulates that the offender will have no direct or indirect contact with the victim, the victim’s family members, and will cease any threatening, abusive, or harassing behavior. The judge will take into account whether the individuals go to school together, live together, share a child, etc. The offender may be required to move out, pay child support, or turn over any firearms to the authorities. Protective orders vary in length, but they can be renewed once, or a new order can be granted.
Anyone can get a protective order if they can prove that another person: 1) physically injured them or 2) put them in fear of being physically injured.
Restraining orders are commonly seen in domestic abuse cases, during divorces, and after break-ups. Domestic violence involves members of the same family, step-family, friends, neighbors, or acquaintances. If you were sexually assaulted or attacked by a friend, family member, or acquaintance, not only should you seek out the authorities, but you should also speak to an attorney about getting a protective order. While the protective order itself does not immediately punish the other person with fines or jail time, it does greatly increase the punishment if the protective order is violated.
Stalking is another common reason for obtaining a restraining order. However, a single episode of stalking, no matter what level of fear you felt, will not warrant the granting of a protective order. Similarly, if you were approached by another person who acted aggressively towards you, such as a drunk person at a bar, but they committed no crime, and you made it home safely, there is no legal ground for a protective order.
You must file for the protective order at the local county clerk’s office. However, it’s best to consult with an attorney first as you will need to prove that you were physically injured or are in fear of being physically injured. This may require you to show any injuries sustained through medical records and police reports and to release text messages, voicemails, and e-mails that support your fear of being injured. The attorney can help you manage this difficult and emotional task, and relieve the burden of putting all the evidence together for the court. While the other party must be notified of the hearing, a temporary emergency restraining order can be granted if the situation warrants the need.
If you receive notice of a pending protection order hearing, you should immediately contact an attorney. You will need to discuss your situation with the attorney who will prepare your defense for the hearing. At the hearing, your attorney should explain the situation from your perspective, why a protective order would be harmful to you and any other parties involved, and highlight any inconsistencies or lies in the plaintiff’s stories. The process will likely be unpleasant, but it’s important that you stay calm and let your attorney do his or her job. There are many cases of individuals alleging physical abuse or harm to obtain a protective order, but the ulterior motive is to affect a child custody battle or get back at the defendant for a past issue. Whatever the situation, failing to secure a competent attorney before the hearing will likely result in the plaintiff being granted whatever protection he or she seeks.
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