What is a Temporary Restraining Order?

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As the name suggests, a temporary restraining order is a short-term order by a civil judge. The order sets up harsh penalties for engaging in some action, generally having forbidden contact with the party noted, or being around their place of residence or being in the general vicinity of the noted party. A TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) is most likely to be issued in cases involving child abuse, domestic abuse/violence, or harassment from failed business or personal relationships. A temporary restraining order generally lasts from a couple days to a month, but the length can vary by locality or specific context.

If you find for yourself as the plaintiff in a domestic/civil case, especially with the potential for abuse, a TRO may be a useful option. When a Temporary Restraining Order is needed, the plaintiff requesting the TRO may need to prove that their case can prevail on merits, the extent to which the defendant is harming the plaintiff, that the defendant’s rights will not be infringed and the order in the public interest. The court may issue a TRO ex parte, which means that the restraining order can be issued without the presence of the defendant or the plaintiff, if the court has found a reasonable probability that the plaintiff will prevail on merits.

Violating a Temporary Restraining Order

A TRO is an order issued by a civil court, which means that violation of this order will not carry the same penalties as violating parole or a pre-trial bond release. If a defendant violates a temporary restraining order, he may be charged with civil contempt of court–rather than the felony associated with parole violations.