The most important issue perhaps is how it was served.
Were you properly served with the restraining order? To violate a restraining order you must know that one exists and you were properly served with said order. Now, most orders that you receive before a hearing are temporary in nature. The order usually only lasts for a short period of time, and it is usually seven days. At the end of the temporary restraining order there is usually a date to appear in court for a restraining order hearing.
Understand what a restraining order hearing is.
The restraining order hearing is held to allow the judge to determine whether to extend the restraining order or to terminate the order. At this hearing, the judge will first read the affidavit from the complainant. Then the judge will ask you if you are contesting the order. If you are contesting the order, the judge will usually allow for testimony. The complainant is usually allowed to tell their side of the story first. Then the judge will usually give you an opportunity to voice your story.
Understand the ruling.
The judge will make a determination of whether: the restraining order should be extended, the time period the restraining order should be extended, and the conditions of the restraining order.
You need to be careful of what you say in court. The hearing is recorded and anything you say can be used against you further down the road. If you have criminal charges pending against you, then you need to talk to an attorney. If you have pending charges it isn't wise to testify, especially without an attorney being there.
Abide by the order.
It is important that you abide by all the terms of the restraining order. Many people get themselves into trouble because they believe it is okay to contact the complainant because the complainant contacted them first. If you have a restraining order against you, and your girlfriend or boyfriend calls you, you are still violating the restraining order if you contact them. The order is a civil one, but violation of that order is a criminal offense. If convicted of violation of a restraining order you can be sentenced to a jail term. So be smart, protect yourself, abide by the order and hire an attorney to help.
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