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Restraining Order Denied!

Attorney Matthew Perkins from our Parker office recently represented a client (the Respondent) in a Burlington District Court case where her own daughter (Petitioner) was trying to obtain a (civil) permanent protection order. Through argument and witness testimony, Matthew Perkins successfully demonstrated to the court that the Petitioner could not meet either of the two prongs necessary to obtain a permanent protection order. That is, the judge found the mother had not put the Petitioner or her family at risk of imminent danger in the past and was not going to put the protected parties at risk of imminent danger in the future. Following the successful trial, our client can return to her life without fear of having any restrictions on her guns or her permit to conceal and carry. Please contact Matt Perkins if you are interested in either filing a civil restraining order or need help defending against a civil restraining order. We fight for justice for both Petitioners and Respondents!

Obtaining a temporary civil protection order is a relatively simple standard, although the paperwork can be difficult, confusing and time consuming. A petitioner (who is ten years of age or older) may file for a temporary civil protection order to:

  1. Prevent Assaults and threatened bodily harm;

  2. Prevent domestic abuse;

  3. Prevent Emotional abuse of the elderly or of an at-risk adult;

  4. Prevent sexual assault or abuse; and

  5. Prevent stalking

The petitioner fills out a few forms, including JDF 398, under penalty of perjury and submits them to the court. The petitioner can then appear before a district court judge ex parte (without the opposing side) to plead her case. A judge will issue a temporary civil protection order if she finds that an imminent danger exists to the person or persons seeking protection under the civil protection order based on the allegations made by the petitioner. That is, the judge assumes all facts alleged are true (unless they just don’t make any sense). Many times judges will err on the side of caution in granting the temporary protection order—especially in today’s climate—because it is only temporary and they are worried about what could happen to the petitioner if the protection order is not granted. The matter will then be set for a hearing (trial) no sooner than 14 days from the date of service on the respondent.

At the hearing, both sides are entitled to put on witnesses and present evidence. If the respondent fails to appear at the hearing, the temporary protection order will be made permanent at the request of the petitioner. If the petitioner fails to appear at the hearing, the temporary protection order will be vacated at the request of the respondent.

For a temporary protection order to become permanent, the petition must show by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the following propositions are true:

  1. The Respondent has engaged in behavior or caused events to occur that has, in the past, placed the protected party at risk of imminent danger, AND

  2. The Respondent is likely to continue to behave or cause events to occur that place the protected party at risk of imminent danger if the protection order is not made permanent.

This is meant to be a quick crash course in protection orders and is not meant to be legal advice. If you would like legal advice, please contact our firm to discuss your case today!

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