What To Do if Someone Gets a Restraining Order Against You
If someone gets a restraining order against you, you must act quickly if you disagree with the order:
- If your papers have a court date, go to that court date. This is your only chance to tell a judge you disagree with the restraining order.
- If the papers don’t have a court date, you must ask for a court hearing within 30 days of the date you were handed a copy of the restraining order. Keep reading for more information on how to ask for a hearing.
A restraining order is a legal document that contains a set of rules that you must follow. If you do not follow the rules, you can be arrested. Restraining orders are also sometimes called protective orders.
The person asking for the order is the Petitioner on the court forms. You are the Respondent.
Read your order carefully. Each order is different! Here are some things a restraining order might make you do:
- Stop contacting the person who got the restraining order against you;
- Move out of the other person’s home or your shared home;
- Stay away from certain places, including the other person’s home, school, or workplace;
- Pay the other person money;
- Get rid of your guns and firearms;
- Stay away from your children and only see them at specific times or specific places;
- And more!
Read your papers carefully. They will give you information about how to tell the court you disagree with the restraining order.
If the court set a court date:
- Go to court on that date! This court date is your chance to tell a judge you disagree with the order.
- Before your court date, get ready for court by gathering evidence. For more information on how to prepare for court, visit the contested restraining order hearings page.
If a court date is not listed in the restraining order paperwork:
- You must ask for a contested hearing within 30 days. A contested hearing is a court date where you and the other person can talk to a judge and present evidence about what happened. To request a contested hearing:
- Complete a "Request for Hearing" form. This form should be in the papers that the police gave you.
- Take or mail your "Request for Hearing" form to the court address listed on your court papers.
- Wait for the court to contact you with a hearing date. If the court does not call you within two to three days, call the court to make sure they got your form and to see if they set a hearing.
For more information on how to prepare for a court hearing, visit the contested hearings page.
Do not contact the other person to convince them to end their restraining order. This can get you into criminal trouble. Instead you must fight the restraining order through a court process.
Yes. If the other person got a Family Abuse Restraining Order, this order can give the other parent temporary custody of your children. It can also include a schedule for when you can see your children. The courts call this schedule a Parenting Plan. You must follow the custody order and parenting plan.
A restraining order can also make it harder to get long-term custody of your children in a divorce or custody case.
If you disagree with the temporary custody order or the parenting plan, you must ask for a hearing within 30 days of the date the police handed you a copy of the restraining order. See the previous question for information on how to request a hearing.
Warning: If you were charged with a crime related to domestic violence, you may also have to follow a "criminal no contact order." A criminal no contact order may prevent you from seeing your kids, even though a restraining order says you can. Talk to your criminal defense attorney if you are in this situation and want to see your children.
You should ask for a hearing to challenge the other person’s restraining order.
You can also get your own restraining order if the other person was abusive to you, and you are afraid they will hurt you again in the near future.
For more information on the different restraining orders in Oregon, go here.
You must follow the restraining order. If the restraining order says no contact, you must obey that order.
The other person does not have to follow the restraining order—only you do.
If the other person wants to end the restraining order, they need to file a form with the court to make that happen.
In general, most restraining orders tell you not to communicate with the other person through third parties. Third parties include your friends, relatives, children, lawyer, neighbors, or co-workers.
But every restraining order is different. Read your restraining order carefully to understand what is required. Some restraining orders may allow third party contact for specific reasons—such as making plans for your kids.
The person who got the restraining order can call the police. The police will arrest you if they believe you disobeyed the restraining order. If you disobey a restraining order, you could get a criminal or contempt conviction. In a criminal or contempt case, a judge can:
- Send you to jail;
- Charge you fines;
- Put you on probation;
- Order you to complete a batterer’s intervention program; or
- Order you to complete mental health treatment (if you have a mental health diagnosis).
Yes. A restraining order is a public court record. It is entered into a statewide law enforcement database.
It can. Read your restraining order carefully. Every restraining order is different. A restraining order can keep you from having guns, ammunition, or other weapons.
If you have any questions about your right to have guns, you should contact an attorney. The law is very complicated in this area!
Yes. Restraining orders are valid in all:
- Oregon counties;
- U.S. states and Washington D.C.;
- Tribal lands; and
- U.S. territories.
It depends on:
- The type of restraining order: Oregon has five restraining orders. Restraining orders can last one year, two years, five years, or indefinitely. Read your restraining order paperwork carefully to understand how long the order lasts.
- Whether a judge ends the order early: A judge can end a restraining order before its expiration date if there isn't enough evidence that it's needed. This usually happens at a contested hearing.
- Whether a judge extends the order: A judge can also extend (renew) a restraining order past its original expiration date. The other person must turn in a renewal application with the court for this to happen. You can request a hearing if you don't think a judge should renew the order.
For specific information on each of the five restraining orders in Oregon, go here.
If you have any questions about whether you are still under a restraining order, you can call the Oregon circuit court that issued the restraining order. Court staff should be able to tell you whether a restraining order is still in place.
Most people involved in restraining order cases do not have lawyers. But if you can afford a lawyer, a lawyer can help you prepare for court and/or go to court with you. To find a lawyer, you can use the Referral Database.
A contested hearing is your only opportunity to fight the restraining order.* At a contested hearing, you and the person who got the restraining order can show the judge evidence and have witnesses testify. At the end of the hearing, the judge will decide whether to end the restraining order or keep it in place.
For more information on preparing for a contested hearing, visit the contested hearing page.
*If someone got an Extreme Risk Protection Order against you, you have two opportunities to fight the order. For more information on this type of restraining order, go here.
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