In Missouri, a restraining order, also known as a protective order or an order of protection, can be filed against virtually any person. It is not uncommon for someone to file for a restraining order for the sole purpose of seeking revenge. It is one of the most abused filings in the Missouri judicial system.
However, there are instances when filing for a protective order against another person may be appropriate. If a boyfriend, a wife, a neighbor, or some other individual is stalking, harassing, abusing, or intimidating you, you may file an order of protection. The process is relatively simple. An individual wishing to file for an order of protection can appear at the county courthouse where the harassment, abuse, intimidation, or threats took place and ask for the necessary paperwork to fill out from the court clerk. Once the individual fills out the necessary paperwork, the court will assign a court date within 15 days. Often, if the harassment, abuse, intimidation, or threats are serious enough, a judge will enter a temporary order of protection prior to the court date. At the court hearing, the judge will then decide on whether the order of protection is warranted and shall continue or whether to dismiss the temporary order of protection. A temporary order of protection would prohibit the respondent from being in the same location as you and order the respondent from having any contact with you.
On the other hand, an individual who is served with an order of protection must appear at the court hearing and defend against the allegations. If you do not appear at the hearing, a judge will typically enter an order of protection for a period of six months to one year. If you live with the individual seeking an order of protection against you, you have even more at stake, because the judge can order you to move out of the house and not return. While many individuals choose not to hire a lawyer to represent them at the hearing, a lawyer significantly enhances your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. An experienced protective order lawyer generally knows the best way to defend your rights at a Missouri restraining order hearing.
If you believe you are in need of a protective order against someone else or have been served with a protective order, it is important that you contact an experienced St. Louis, Missouri ex parte protective order lawyer as soon as possible. For more information, please visit our “Order of Protection” page or call us at 314.645.4400.