Most civil protective orders (also called "restraining orders," depending on your jurisdiction) are filed in connection with domestic violence situations, stalking, and other sorts of harassment. They're little more than a piece of paper on which a judge orders two adults to stay away from each other. However, if you're the defendant in a civil protective order, and it's based on false allegations, your world can end up turned inside out and upside down, very quickly. Here's what you need to know, if you're hit with a restraining order based on false allegations:
1.) It takes very little "proof" to get a civil protective order (CPO).
CPOs are designed to put some distance between two or more people, before a bad situation escalates into something worse. It makes sense that they're easy to get, and that it takes little more than the word of one individual that he or she is afraid of the other person for some reason.
The problem is that some "victims" aren't actually victimized - instead, they're legally savvy enough to use the courts to their advantage and the CPO as a weapon against a wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, or some other person. They may even be mentally disturbed, themselves. However, they go into court for the emergency hearing, concoct a tale of abuse or violence by saying whatever will get the judge's sympathy, and they walk out with the order in hand.
Since the initial hearing is done on an emergency basis, ex parte, you don't get notified and don't get a chance to tell your side of the story.
2.) Whatever it says in the CPO is now part of public record - your public record.
Whatever allegations are made before the judge during the ex parte hearing are now part of public record, even if they aren't true. That means that anybody who wants to read the sordid details of your alleged abuse and violence can do just that.
In addition, there's the natural tendency of many people to believe that if a CPO exists, or was once issued in the past, that the defendant is automatically guilty of the charges. That perception has a lot to do with a lack of familiarity over the process. However, you could find yourself trying to explain what happened at your next job interview, after a background check is run - because the CPO will appear on it.
3.) You can be thrown out of your house, stripped of your possessions, or jailed.
You'll be able to fight the CPO (provided you follow the right court procedures) eventually. In the meantime, it's very possible that you could be forced from your home, stripped of your possessions, or very easily jailed on a violation for next to nothing.
It doesn't matter whose name is on the lease, or who has to pay the mortgage. If a CPO is issued, you can't enter the property, not even to pick up your toothbrush or a change of clothing.
Worse, you could end up arrested for violating the CPO if you do something as innocent as entering the grocery store while you alleged "victim" is there, even if you had no idea he or she was around.
4.) Read the CPO in its entirely and make sure that you understand what it says you cannot do.
You need a lawyer from a firm like Law Firm Of Douglas Bare if you are going to successfully defend yourself against a malicious CPO. In the meantime, follow the instructions of the CPO to the letter and do not willfully violate its terms. If your alleged "victim" contacts you for some reason, try to have witnesses to any encounter, so that you can prove what happened later through witness testimony.
That means not accepting cell phone calls from the other person, and putting your phone on "speaker" mode if he or she somehow manages to get a call through. Don't go to the home, and don't initiate contact.
If you're the victim of a malicious civil protection order that's been filed on false allegations, contact a criminal defense attorney for assistance right away. You can fight the order in court, and in some cases have the record expunged so that you aren't haunted by the false allegations forever.