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Criminal Protection or Civil Restraining?

The differences between a criminal protection order and a civil restraining order are subtle—but important to your legal rights. While both of these orders require that you stay away from the protected party and that person’s home (even if it’s your own) and may require separation from your children if they reside with the other party, there are some key differences:


Criminal protection order
•    Order automatically created in every criminal case
•    Violating is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year and a half in jail
•    Can prevent you from possessing firearms
•    Can prevent you from drinking/using drugs
•    Usually a condition of bond
•    Expires at the end of the case
•    Shows up on background checks while active

Civil restraining order
•    Order must be requested by a plaintiff from a judge
•    Violating is a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail
•    If granted temporary restraining order, it starts as soon as you’re served and continues until the court date on the temporary restraining order
•    You have a right to a hearing regarding whether the temporary order should be made permanent
•    Right to a minimum two-week continuance of the hearing to prepare
•    If you win the hearing, restraining order goes away; if you lose, it’s made permanent
•    If made permanent, this shows up on background checks indefinitely

You might not understand all of these legal variations, but a qualified criminal defense lawyer will. It’s critical.