How to Lift a Restraining Order

Restraining orders are often issued in cases involving domestic violence in order to protect someone from another, commanding that the recipient cannot make contact with and remain a certain number of feet from the filing party at all times. This includes restrictions with regard to approaching the filing party’s home, place of work, and another known area where he or she frequents.

However, some restraining orders are taken out in order to manipulate a certain situation. For example, a couple could be involved in a hotly contested child custody dispute, so one party may attempt to get a restraining order in order to gain leverage in the case.

Lifting the Order

To life a restraining order, either the plaintiff or the defendant can ask the court. This is typically done by filing a motion with the court, such as a Motion to Modify Conditions of Pretrial Release or a Motion to Lift Restraining Order. If the plaintiff agrees with the lifting, the motion will that this fact and other facts, such as both parties wish to have contact, the plaintiff voluntarily makes the request, the plaintiff is not afraid of the defendant and does not anticipate violence.

On the other hand, if the defendant wishes to have the restraining order lifted, the motion will state the reasons why it should be lifted. In most cases, there will be a hearing after the motion is filed and a judge will determine whether or not to lift or change the order. The plaintiff and defendant are typically present at the hearing and may present testimony. In criminal cases, a prosecutor may conduct a cross-examination on the victim.

In general, any request to have a restraining order lifted or modified needs to be supported by evidence, such as the following:

  • Documentation, such as work stubs or completion of rehabilitation
  • Statements from other persons
  • Evidence related to child custody and visitation, if this is a related issue
  • Records from parole officers and other law enforcement authorities testifying to the person’s criminal background

In conclusion, the person against whom the restraining order has been issued needs to show proof of good behavior and must be in good standing with the courts as well. However, the court may evaluate other factors to determine eligibility for a change in restraining order.

If you have been arrested for domestic violence in North Carolina, schedule a free consultation with our Raleigh criminal defense attorney at Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh.


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