What Is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)?

Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

Restraining Orders conceptA temporary restraining order is a court order prohibiting someone from contacting or approaching another person. As the name implies, these orders are temporary – only lasting up to ten days – at which point the court will hold a hearing to determine if a permanent order is appropriate.

Finding out that someone obtained a temporary restraining order against you is an understandably upsetting experience. A restraining order can prevent you from visiting your own home or seeing your children or partner. Additionally, these orders can also interfere with your ability to obtain custody of your children and, in some situations, obtain or keep a job. Yet, in many situations, the reasons for the order are not clear. Regardless, a temporary restraining order is a legal order that should be taken very seriously. At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we help clients understand their rights when facing a temporary restraining order and take the necessary steps to ensure that their freedom is not jeopardized due to these allegations.

Who Can Get a New Mexico Temporary Restraining Order?

The purpose of a restraining order is to protect a person against harassment or abuse. In New Mexico, there are two types of restraining orders: an emergency order and a temporary protection order. Emergency orders are only available through the request of law enforcement. For example, if police officers respond to a call of domestic violence, they can file for an emergency order.

On the other hand, an individual can file for a temporary protection order on their own. Filing for a temporary protection order is frighteningly easy, and can be done without presenting any actual evidence of stalking, abuse, or harassment. All someone needs to do is fill out a form, outlining the allegations. A judge will grant the order if they believe that the person requesting the order suffered any type of domestic abuse, harassment, or stalking. At this point, neither police nor the court will follow-up on any of the allegations; the court essentially assumes the allegations are true and, if so, issues the temporary order.

If a court grants a temporary restraining order, it may also award temporary child custody or visitation. The court will also order a hearing within ten days to determine if a permanent order is necessary. The court must notify the subject of the order so that they can appear. A court cannot issue a permanent restraining order until after both parties have an opportunity to appear. However, between the granting of the temporary order and the hearing, the subject of the order must abide by the terms of the temporary order. If they do not, the subject may face new criminal charges.

At the hearing, the court will consider testimony from both sides and determine if the allegations contained in the request are substantiated. If so, the court will issue a permanent restraining order. Permanent restraining orders vary in the length of time the order is effective, but do not typically last indefinitely. However, the party granted a permanent restraining order can renew the request upon the order’s expiration.

Types of New Mexico Restraining Orders

There are three types of New Mexico restraining orders:

  • Criminal restraining orders: Also referred to as “stay-away orders,” these are issued by the judge during the pendency of a criminal case and require the defendant to stay away from the victim or certain witnesses.
  • Civil restraining orders: A civil restraining order is a type of restraining order requiring a person to refrain from threatening, harassing, contacting, or even going near another person.
  • Domestic violence restraining orders: Similar to a civil restraining order, a domestic violence restraining order prohibits certain types of contact between family members when there are allegations of domestic abuse.

At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we can help you understand which type of restraining order was filed against you, and what you can do to prepare for what may lie ahead.

Cases in Which a Court May Issue a Temporary Restraining Order

Restraining order formIn the criminal context, most restraining orders are domestic violence restraining orders. The issuance of a temporary restraining order may result in the government bringing criminal charges, but that is not always the case. Regardless, the temporary restraining order itself is not the charging instrument. Instead, the government may file a criminal complaint based on the allegations contained in the order. The type of charges filed will depend on what the person filing for a temporary restraining order claims the defendant did. Common cases resulting from the filing of a restraining order include:

  •   Assault against a household member
  •   Aggravated assault against a household member
  •   Battery against a household member
  •   Aggravated battery against a household member
  •   Stalking
  •   Harassment
  •   Sexual abuse
  •   Rape
  •   Criminal sexual contact with a minor
  •   Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
  •   Kidnapping

Those facing a temporary restraining order may very well soon come to find out that they are also looking at New Mexico felony domestic violence charges. While the seriousness of these offenses varies, each can have a significant impact on your life. Domestic violence allegations can impact your ability to see your children or to sleep in your own home. Courts take these charges very seriously and so should you. At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we recognize that many domestic violence allegations are completely unsubstantiated, and we vow to aggressively represent your interests at every step of the process.

Contact a New Mexico Criminal Defense Legal Team Today

If you face New Mexico domestic violence charges, contact the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices for immediate assistance. Our criminal defense legal team have decades of experience successfully representing clients facing all types of domestic violence offenses. We understand that mere allegations can have an enormous impact on your life, regardless of whether they are true, and we will do everything we can to minimize the effect the case has on your life. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our Albuquerque criminal defense legal team, call us today. You can also reach us through our online form.