Restraining orders often get thrown around in media, used egregiously to help bolster fictional narratives or used in smear campaigns against important figures. This creates a lot of confusion about their actual purpose and how they work in real life.
How does a temporary restraining order in particular function? What happens if one individual decides to file one against another?
Defining domestic violence
The New Jersey State Police site includes information on domestic violence, which serves as the major reason that most restraining orders come into being. Domestic violence often occurs between partners – especially spouses – and between parents and children. However, by law, domestic violence can occur between anyone sharing living quarters, including roommates.
Not only that, but many people also assume that domestic violence involves physical assault. While this does play a role in many domestic violence cases, a person can still take action if under realistic threat of violence, even if that violence remained a threat and not an action.
What happens after receiving a restraining order?
A judge can issue a temporary restraining order if one person accuses another of domestic violence. With this order, the alleged abuser cannot return to the location where the domestic violence occurred, even if it is their home. They cannot contact the victim in any way, and they also lose their right to own guns. They may need to pay the victim’s medical expenses and might also have to pay child support temporarily. They may even temporarily lose custody of their child.
These severe penalties serve as just one reason why domestic violence charges must get taken seriously. A conviction could end up seriously altering the course of the accused’s life.