To obtain a permanent injunction, you must first get a temporary restraining order (TRO). TROs can be issued when there's a pattern of harassment or domestic abuse. To ask for legal protection, the petitioner (the person asking for the TRO) must complete the court forms setting forth examples of abuse or harassment including date and times. The forms are reviewed by a judicial officer. Before the court issues a TRO, the court official will ask you why you want a TRO. If a TRO is issued, it will remain in effect for 7 days or until the court can hold a hearing to change the TRO into a permanent injunction. During this time, the alleged abuser must be notified of the TRO and the hearing so that he or she may defend the allegations. Law Enforcement Officers or a process server must serve the TRO on the alleged abuser. Once they have served the TRO, the officer must provide you with "proof of service" to take to the court at the time of the Injunction Hearing.
The Injunction Hearing
The petitioner must come to court at the time of the final injunction hearing to have the TRO converted to a permanent injunction. Otherwise, the TRO will be dismissed. A hearing will be held before a judge or court commissioner to determine whether there is a basis for a permanent injunction. Both the petitioner and the alleged abuser may testify at this time. Police reports and medical evidence may also be presented. If the court finds that there has been abuse or harassment, a permanent injunction will be issued. Both the petitioner and the abuser will receive a copy of the court's order so that everyone knows what rules to abide by. If the abuser fails to appear for court, law enforcement will provide him or her with the order.
Making the Abuse or Harassment Stop
Obtaining a restraining order or injunction is just one step in stopping harassment or domestic violence. Each person needs to create his or her own safety plan. Therapists, family, churches, law enforcement and many social service agencies can help you learn to escape abuse. It is imperative that these resources are used to compliment the relief that is obtained in court.
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