Restraining Order and Harassment Prevention Order Defense
Restraining orders and harassment prevention orders, although civil in nature, may have serious consequences. Such orders become part of an individual’s criminal activity record which may be detrimental if that person is ever charged with a criminal offense. Moreover, violating a restraining order or harassment prevention order is a crime and can lead to harmful criminal consequences, even incarceration. Rankin & Sultan seeks to challenge the issuance of a restraining order or harassment prevention order against our client as soon as possible, which is often at an evidentiary hearing which follows the issuance of a temporary order.
There may well be a factual defense to the issuance of such orders. Rankin & Sultan investigates the allegations made by the complainant, interviews witnesses, gathers evidence, and presents facts to the judge in an effort to prevent the issuance of an unjustified order. If there is a concurrent criminal case, the hearing on the requested restraining order or harassment prevention order may be a good opportunity to gather information about the complainant and his or her allegations. We may have an opportunity to cross-examine the complainant at the hearing. In our view, no one who is the subject of a restraining order or harassment order application should go to the hearing without counsel. The stakes are too high to risk making a critical blunder in going it alone.
Where a restraining order or harassment prevention order has already been issued, Rankin & Sultan can appeal that decision to the Appeals Court. The deadline for filing an appeal is short. Therefore, if you think a restraining order or harassment prevention order issued against you improperly, it is important that you contact counsel right away. If the time for filing an appeal passes, that order will become a permanent part of your record – even if it is later vacated.