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Navigating the Murky Waters of Injunctions A.K.A. Restraining Orders                

Regardless of whether you are the Petitioner or the Respondent, the injunction process can be extremely confusing. There is no State Attorney representing the interests of the Petitioner. There is no Public Defender to protect the rights of the person accused. Yet, if granted, the Court can place several restrictions on a Respondent, sometimes permanently. If the Respondent fails to comply with the Court’s Order, they can be arrested.


If you are the Petitioner, there are several different types of injunction petitions to chose from. It is essential that the right one is chosen, since each one comes with its different requirements, and you as the Petitioner will have the legal burden of proving those requirements to the Court.


As the Petitioner, you will have to chose to file either a; (1) domestic violence injunction, (2) repeat violence injunction, (3) dating violence injunction, (4) sexual violence injunction, or a (5) stalking injunction. Lesser known, but equally as important, you can also file a petition for injunction against exploitation of a vulnerable adult.              


Choosing the right petition is crucial, and it could mean the difference between your petition being automatically dismissed or granted after a final hearing. Each of the Petitions come with the possibility of a temporary order, while you wait for the final hearing on your petition. After a Petition is filed, the Court will either grant or deny a temporary order and the Respondent will be served with both the Petition and the Court’s decision on that temporary order. The purpose of the temporary order is to provide some level of protection to the Petitioner while the parties wait for the final hearing on the Petition for Injunction. The Court will only grant a temporary injunction order if the Petitions alleges enough facts that show there is an immediate and present danger. If granted, the Court will make that decision before a hearing is held, often based only on the allegations of the Petition. Since a hearing will follow shortly after, the Court is allowed to do this on a temporary basis, even though normally the allegations would be considered hearsay. 


At a final hearing, the Petitioner will have to provide evidence to the Court regarding the allegations that were contained in their petition. If the Petitioner is not present at the hearing, the Court will dismiss their Petition. However, if the Court dismisses the Petition “without prejudice,” the Petitioner has the option of filing another petition. Sometimes, this happens when the Court believes that the facts of the case are better suited for one of the other types of injunctions. However, there is no guarantee that the Court will allow the petitioner to re-file after a dismissal.                                                 


If you are the person that is being accused (Respondent), it is essential that you speak to an attorney, especially if you have a criminal case pending. More often than not, testifying at an injunction hearing, can have serious negative repercussion in your related criminal case. Furthermore, if you are currently going through divorce proceedings with the Petitioner, the results in an injunction case, can have serious consequences in your divorce case.


Due to the serious nature of injunctions, once a petition is filed, the Court will provide the parties with a hearing, often within days of being served with the Petition.


If you are interested in filing a Petition for injunction, or if you were recently were served with a Petition for Injunction, please call us today at (386)257-1222.