It is important to remember that restraining orders are not a punishment for past behavior, they are to restrain potential future behavior. So in that regard, yes, "immediate threats" as you say would weigh/should weigh more heavily that other, older evidence of threats. This is why the DV petitions ask the petitioner to list past threats in reverse chronological order (newest first). The judge will be looking to see whether or not the past behavior is predictive of any future behavior, and if that email helps tell the story, then it'll be considered.
Unfortunately restraining orders are decided by one person. Their beliefs and perceptions will determine if it qualifies. Almost anything is possible. I have seen them granted for different reasons then the ones requested. I have seen them granted when I thought there was no way and denied when I thought it was inevitable. So the answer is yes it can be a basis but the judge will consider everything.
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The email is just one of the factors that the judge will take into account. The judge will take into consideration all behavior and actions that amount to an implied threat and not just the threats that have a paper trail. The judge will also take into account any declarations or witness testimonial that goes to show that there have been other threats (for example stalking, etc).
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According to your message the email was written a year ago; you have not had any physical contact in all this time and nothing else has happened since then. I would think it's unlikely that a judge will grant a restraining order under these factors unless the email contains threats and/or other facts that in the context of your relationship merit a restraining order. If you find this helpful and/or the best answer, please check on the appropriate box below. Thank you.
I don't see how a year old email can be sufficient to find immediate threat. Maybe it is being used to show the character of the person (their propensity for making threats). As already stated, a restraining order needs a showing of recent abuse or threat.
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