A restraining order in Las Vegas is a court action that an individual can petition for if he or she feels threatened by another individual. If the judge presiding over the action agrees, the order will go into effect immediately, and the court will use its authority to enforce it. There are many common misunderstandings about exactly what a restraining order means, how to obtain one, and how to oppose one that is being filed against you.
Types of Restraining Orders
Nevada allows for two different types of restraining orders.
- Temporary Protection Order (TPO). If a person perceives an immediate threat from someone else, he can file an application for a TPO. The court takes an application seriously, delivering an approval or denial within 24 hours. The individual against whom the order is sought, referred to legally as the “adverse party,” does not have to be notified or given a chance to oppose the imposition of a TPO. If approved, the full effects of the order will continue for a maximum of 30 days.
- Extended Restraining Order. An extended order lasts for up to a year. The application process is longer and more closely investigated by the court, given the more serious effects of a year-long court enforced action.
Once a restraining order is in effect, violating it is usually a misdemeanor, carrying up to a year in prison and $2,000 in fines. However, violation of an extended order that is based on sexual or child abuse is treated as a felony and can result in a $10,000 fine and five years in prison.
Specifications of Restraining Orders
Las Vegas courts define certain activities that are considered illegal for the adverse party to an enacted restraining order. The actions restricted are not always the same, and are set by the court on a case-by-case basis. In order to be approved, the application must specify a crime that the applicant feels threatened with—stalking, child abuse, or domestic violence, for example. Most often, the adverse party is prohibited from threatening or harassing the individual seeking the order, including actions that may not fall under the category of a crime under normal circumstances. An order can also specify that the adverse party remain a certain distance away from the individual at all times, and not go near his or her home, school, or workplace. Issues such as temporary custody of children, pets, or objects are also sometimes addressed.
Because an extended restraining order covers a long period of time, it sometimes mandates the payment of support by the adverse party. A common feature in extended orders is the requirement of the adverse party to sell or surrender any firearms that he or she owns. After the restraining order requires, the right to own firearms is restored.
Applying for a Restraining Order
If you fear that you are in danger from a spouse, domestic partner, or ex, you can file for a TPO to ensure your safety while other legal action is in progress. In order to make sure your application is correctly filled out and submitted, it is best to have a Las Vegas attorney help you with the process. Your lawyer will also address the court on your behalf, answering any questions about your reasons for requesting the order and giving input on what actions should be specified.
The help of a knowledgeable lawyer is even more important in the extended restraining order application process. The court always notifies the adverse party of the application and gives him or her the opportunity to appear at a hearing to oppose the order. At this hearing, if the court becomes convinced that there is not enough evidence of a threat to you from the adverse party, it will deny your application and your efforts will have been wasted. Keep in mind that if the order will affect the other person adversely, he or she will probably hire a lawyer to try to prevent its approval.
Fighting a Restraining Order
You may be on the other end of a potential restraining order. Often, a vindictive ex or an overreacting coworker tries to file for a restraining order that would prevent you from living in your own home or functioning normally at your place of employment. If there is not enough reason for a valid restraining order against you, you could suffer the loss of your job and multiple other disruptions simply because someone imagined that you were a threat to them. The court will be willing to listen to a lawyer who clearly presents your side of the story and exposes the spiteful attitudes, rather than hard evidence, that is behind the restraining order request.
If you are accused of violating a restraining order, your attorney can oppose a conviction by questioning the evidence of violation, showing that you were unaware that your actions were a violation, or by proving that the specifications of the restraining order were inadequately communicated to you in the first place.