Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs)
Honolulu Criminal Defense Lawyer Providing Assistance
A temporary restraining order (TRO), which is a type of protective order, prevents one person from coming into contact with another person, as well as anyone who lives with that individual. This means that the person whom the order was issued against (the respondent) will not be able to visit, call or try to contact the other person (the petitioner) in any way. These are orders that are often given in domestic violence cases, which involve abusive or threatening behavior by someone such as a current or former spouse, significant other, family member, cohabitant or other person of a certain type of close relationship. However, these kinds of orders can be issued against other individuals who do not fall under the category.
While temporary restraining orders can be a vital part of keeping someone safe, it can also be used as a tool of retaliation. Sometimes, individuals make exaggerated or completely false claims against others because they know it will lead to a protective order, which could be damaging to the other person. This tactic is often used as a way to gain the upper hand in a custody battle, since restraining orders often weigh in heavily on the final decision of which parent gets to keep the child.
If you have become the unfair target of a restraining order, you need to make sure that you have a strong line of defense. As a Honolulu criminal defense attorney with more than 20 years of experience, I can help you protect your rights and your best interests. Learn more below about temporary restraining orders in Honolulu and how my office, The Law Office of Steve Cedillos, can help.
Temporary restraining orders being filed against individuals of more intimate relation are filed through Family Court, while such orders against other individuals are filed in District Court. If a petitioner files for a TRO and it is granted, the order becomes effective as soon as the respondent is formally served with a copy of the TRO. A TRO/injunction hearing will then be scheduled within 15 days of the protective order being granted, as outlined by the Hawaii State Judiciary.
While TROs last 90 days, it is possible that the respondent will be ordered to stay away from the petitioner for a longer period of time. The hearing is used to determine whether the TRO should be replaced with an injunction that can last up to three years. In addition to making this determination, the hearing also serves as an opportunity for the petitioner to prove his or her claims and for the respondent to defend himself or herself against the allegations. If the respondent is successful, he or she will be able to get the TRO removed.
Hardship and Stigma of TROs
Temporary restraining orders can create a great amount of hardship for individuals who are on the receiving end of them. For example, if a person receives such an order from someone he or she lives with, that individual will be required to stay away from his or her own home. In some cases, the order could potentially force the person to be separated from his or her children. Or, if the individual receiving the TRO receives such an order from a co-worker, the respondent could end up being forced to stay away from his or her workplace and could therefore be at risk of losing his or her job. Furthermore, the TRO could negatively impact the individual's reputation.
It is important to note that any violation of a TRO that is deemed intentional by the court is counted as misdemeanor and punishable, upon conviction, by a mandatory jail sentence of at least 48 hours and a fine of $150 to $500, according to Hawaii Revised Statues §586.4. Penalties can be more severe if the respondent has previous convictions for certain felonies.
These are all important reasons why you should make sure you are prepared with the best level of defense possible. By having the counsel of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, you can fight your TRO using a number of different tactics. It might be possible to use witness testimony, correspondence or other evidence to show that the petitioner is making false allegations against you.
Contacting a Competent Legal Professional
Don't leave your fate in the hands of your accuser. Contact me so I can help you take the correct steps in protecting your freedom. I have a full understanding of how temporary restraining orders and the local court system work, so I will be able to provide you with step-by-step guidance.