What are Restraining Orders?

The court system issues temporary restraining orders (TRO) in Hawaii to protect someone who has allegations of harassment or abuse. TROs are designed to prohibit the accused attacker from contacting the alleged victim, remove the accused attacker from their residence, and protect children who may be at risk.

In many cases, TROs are abused by applicants hoping to secure sole custody of their shared child or children. Once a TRO is in place, you will be prohibited from contacting the person who took out the TRO against you. There may be other terms you need to follow as well. If you fail to adhere to the guidelines of your TRO, you could be facing arrest and additional criminal penalties.

Order for Protection Vs. Temporary Restraining Order

Temporary restraining orders are different from an order of protection because, as the name suggests, TROs are temporary. A TRO can last 90 days but is valid for 180. There will be a hearing to determine if a TRO’s protections should be extended. If it is, the TRO becomes an order for protection, also known as an injunction.

Orders for protections are only granted in cases where:

  • An order of protection is necessary to prevent the alleged victim from further domestic abuse
  • The suspected abuser failed to prove why the TRO should be discontinued

Under Hawaii law, orders for protection can remain in effect for a maximum of three years. At that point, the case can be reassessed to determine the risk to the alleged victim.

Are There Penalties if I Violate the Protection Order in Hawaii?

You face harsh criminal penalties if you are accused of violating a temporary restraining order or protective order.

Someone accused of violating a temporary restraining order faces misdemeanor charges. If this is your first conviction, you could spend up to 48 hours in jail and pay fines as high as $500. However, if you have been convicted of a prior temporary restraining order violation, your fines could be increased to $1,000, and you could spend a minimum of 30 days in jail.

Someone accused of violating an order of protection could spend up to 48 hours in jail and face fines as high as $500 if this is their first criminal conviction. However, those with prior convictions could find their fines increased to $1,000 and be ordered to spend up to 30 days in jail.

Intentionally violating a TRO could have other devastating consequences. If you were previously on probation, you also face a probation violation. The best way to protect your freedom is to get a dedicated criminal defense attorney who can help challenge the restraining order or order of protection.

How Restraining Orders Are Processed in Honolulu

Once you have been served with a restraining order, you may wonder what your next steps should be. Most importantly, you will want to be sure that you understand the guidelines of your restraining order so you do not face potential violations.

The initial restraining order will be processed in family court. You will then be served with the restraining order. At this point, you will be prohibited from having any type of contact with the petitioner, including texts, social media exchanges, phone calls, or any other kind of in-person or virtual contact.

Next, there will be a hearing where you will have the opportunity to challenge the restraining order. This might include witness statements or personal testimony. Once the judge has heard both parties, they will review the evidence and determine whether the temporary restraining order should be turned into an order of protection or the extension should be denied.

Should You Get a Honolulu Defense Attorney?

Protection and restraining orders are some of the most complicated areas of the family law and criminal justice systems. If you have had a restraining order taken out against you or are facing allegations of domestic abuse, a Honolulu criminal defense attorney could help.

Having an attorney on your side to help collect and present evidence, contest alleged violations, and challenge the accusations against you could result in getting the order dismissed, reducing criminal charges, or clearing your name.

Contact Michael Fayard Criminal Defense Attorney, for a confidential case evaluation. Fill out our secured contact form or call (808)445-6708 to get started on your defense strategy session.