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Defending yourself against malicious restraining orders

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Restraining orders are placed in order to protect victims of violence against themselves or their property. Due to their nature, a temporary restraining order can be granted with little to no physical evidence of an intent to do harm. However restraining order processes can be abused by some parties looking to create inconvenience or embarrassment against another party. Here are some options. 

Accept it and move on

If the other party is attempting to goad you into a conflict you can simply accept the restraining order and proceed with your normal life. Restraining orders cannot restrict you from your house, workplace or other common locations you need to visit so you can simply continue to live your life and walk away if you see the other person. The restraining order may state specific locations such as their house, which you can find ways to avoid. While this many not be satisfying in terms of justice, it can often be the easiest and cheapest option. 

Fight the restraining order

If the order is likely to affect your lifestyle, such as a restraining order against a child which may prevent you be involved with other activities such as coaching your child's sports team, it can make sense to fight the order. In this case, you should contact a criminal lawyer to assist you, and provide evidence that you have previously had a reasonable relationship with the person. It can also be useful to give the judge some context to the conflict, for example, it can be useful for the judge to know if this restraining order was lodged by a disgruntled employee that you have previously fired, whose child happens plays on the same sports team as your child.  

Press for charges

If this false restraining order comes as part of a general campaign of harassment, including the desire to embarrass and inconvenience you can separately press for charges to be laid against the filer. Police and the justice system view abuse of process and wasting the time of the court very seriously and you can work with your lawyer to provide evidence that this is part of a large pattern. While filing a single false restraining order may not constitute an offence, if you can prove a pattern of behaviour you may be able to get the other party charged with a harassment related offence. 

If you are issued with false restraining order, regardless of whether you intend to fight it, you should make an initial appointment to meet with a criminal lawyer, so that you can fully understand your rights and any consequences of the restraining order. This can help you to make an informed decision on the best course of action for you with regards to this restraining order.