Orders for Protection

Harassment, Restraining Orders, and Orders for Protection.

If you have been the victim of stalking, harassment, or violence, you may petition the court for a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) or an Order for Protection (OFP).
Generally a judge will issue a HRO when a petitioner has been the victim of repeated harassment, such as annoying or threatening phone calls or unwanted visits to the residence or place of employment by another person who may be unrelated to the petitioner

Harassment is defined as:

  • • A single incident of physical or sexual assault;
  • • A single incident of using someone's personal information, without consent, to invite, encourage, or solicit a third party to engage in a sexual act;
  • • A single incident of sharing private sexual images of someone without permission;
  • • Repeated incidents (more than one) of intrusive or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that have a substantial adverse effect or are intended to have a substantial adverse effect on the safety, security or privacy of another (e.g., repeated phone calls, following a person, repeatedly coming to the Petitioner’s home after having been asked not to do so);
  • • Targeted residential picketing; OR
  • • A pattern of attending public events after being notified that their presence is harassing to another
  • 1.
    Infliction of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault
  • 2.
    Infliction of fear of imminent physical harm
  • 3.
    Terroristic threats
  • 5.
    Interference with an emergency call

How do I get one of these orders?

With help from your attorney, you may petition the court for protection. This involves filling out paperwork , talking with a judge, and telling the judge just what kind of harassment or violence to which you’ve been subjected. If a judge decides to issue the order, it will be temporary for 7 days. The respondent (person from whom you are seeking protection) must be notified of the temporary order. Within 7 days, a hearing will be set, and you will be obligated to appear for that hearing if you want the order to go into effect for at least one, up to two years. The respondent must show up at that hearing if he/she wants to contest the order. If the respondent does not appear for the hearing, generally a judge will issue the order for the petitioner.

What happens if the respondent contests the order?

  • Infliction of physical The judge will listen to each side and make the determination whether the order will be put into place on a more permanent basis. Sometimes the judge will compromise as to the terms of the order; the court can specify special visitation for parenting time, or can limit contact to only phone conversations for example. Don’t panic if the respondent shows up. It’s their right to contest an order that may prevent them from exercising their freedom in seeing or talking to you. Just because the respondent shows, doesn’t mean that the order will be dropped.

What happens if I get this order issued and then the respondent still contacts me?

What happens if I want to drop the order?

  • Then you go back into court and ask the judge to drop the order. The judge will ask you many questions about why you want to drop the order, but if he/she is convinced that you are no longer in danger, they may lift the order.

Can Catherine help me get an OFP or HRO?

  • Yes she can. Petitioners can find the form to fill out online, or Catherine can draft and file the petition. Either way, the petition has to be filled out and filed with the Court in the County in which the petitioner resides. Catherine has represented clients in hundreds of contested hearings, including OFP and HRO hearings. She helps clients through the hearing by cross-examining any of the Respondent’s witnesses; preparing the client/petitioner for their own possible testimony; and arguing before the Court on behalf of her client. Restraining Order Order for protection

Can Catherine help me if there has been an OFP or HRO issued against me?