As shocking as it might sound, over a million restraining records, also known as protection orders, are filed every year. Whether it’s due to domestic violence, abuse, or harassment, restraining orders work by preventing the aggressors from approaching or communicating with their victims. This, ultimately, protects the victims and allows them to live their lives in peace.
However, what about the perpetrators? How does that restraining order affect their life? More importantly, does it go on their record, and if so, for how long? Keep on reading to find out all this and more.
Does a Restraining Order Go on Your Record?
Well, if by record you mean your criminal record, then no, restraining orders don’t usually appear on your record.
Since most restraining orders are civil constructs, they won’t go on your criminal record. However, if a person violates his restraining order, then it will most definitely appear on his record as this is a criminal offense.
Still, even though a restraining order doesn’t go on your criminal record, it will be on the law enforcement and public court records. So, if a person knows which court issued the restraining order or which law enforcement department handled the case, they could find out about your restraining order.
Yet, finding your public record isn’t exactly as easy as it sounds, and even if found, it can’t really be used against you in something like, say, a job interview. However, if later on in life you get in trouble with the law, then it can be used as evidence against you.
Honestly, having a restraining order will definitely impact your life in many ways until you’re finally rid of it. So, on that note, let’s see how long a restraining record can stay on your record and affect your life.
How Long Does a Restraining Order Stay on Your Record?
If you happen to breach a civil restraining order and the violation gets on your record, this will stay on your criminal record for life as it’ll be considered like any other misdemeanor or felony.
As such, you need to be very careful not to violate that order for as long as it lasts, or else, you have 2-5 years of walking on eggshells when trying to get an apartment or apply for a job. That is, of course, if you’re not in jail for breaching the order.
Of course, a restraining order will also remain on your court record for life. So, even if you don’t violate it, it can still be discovered if a person knows where to look for it.
Nevertheless, there are a few things you can do to get rid of the restraining order on your record, so let’s take a look.
How Can You Remove a Restraining Order From Your Record?
Well, depending on the type of restraining order you have, you’ll go about it differently.
Let’s start with temporary restraining orders. After the judge issues a temporary order, there will then be a permanent restraining order hearing. If, at the hearing, the judge happens to deny the restraining order, then it’ll automatically be expunged from your record, though it may take some time.
However, this ideal scenario doesn’t always play out as such. If you miss your court date or if the judge finds that the restraining order is necessary, you now have a permanent restraining order effective for a period of time that the judge determines. So, what should you do to lift that permanent restraining order from your record?
In a nutshell, you need to contact a lawyer and ask him to file a Motion to Lift Restraining Order.
Once the motion is processed, both parties will be asked to appear where the victim will be given the choice of dissolving the restraining order if they feel their life isn’t at threat. If they agree to lift the restraining order, only then will the restraining order be removed from your record.
Can You Get Rid of Your Restraining Order by Expunging Your Criminal Record?
Since most restraining orders are civil orders, sealing or expunging your criminal record won’t really do much. However, some restraining orders may be related to a criminal offense. If you expunge your record in such a case, then any documents related to the crime will be sealed, including the restraining order.
And this doesn’t just apply to criminal convictions. Even if you’ve been arrested and acquitted, you can still expunge your arrest records, and if they were connected to your restraining order, then you’ve sealed it as well.
So, if you have a restraining order that’s related to criminal charges or conviction, expunging your record would work well in your favor.
How Does a Restraining Order Impact You and Your Life?
Unfortunately, restraining orders can negatively affect your life in more than one way.
For one, they can require you to move out of your home if you happen to share it with the person who requested the restraining order. And this isn’t an easy process. Not only do you have to move out immediately with only the bare essentials, but in some cases, you also have to look for a new house that’s adequately away from the victim.
Of course, you also have to stop all sorts of communication with the protected person, be it texting, calling, or even sending an email. You also must not come within a certain radius around the victim, and in a few cases, you may be obliged to provide financial support.
Most importantly, you will not be allowed to own or carry any guns as your firearm license will be revoked for the duration of the restraining order. This is a massive deal if you work with security or in the army. While you won’t be fired/discharged, you won’t be able to fulfill your duty properly, which will lead to problems down the line.
Nevertheless, restraining orders won’t really impact your employment unless it’s within the victim’s radius.
Since most employers, and landlords for that matter, only look for serious criminal convictions on their applicant’s records during their background checks, it’s highly unlikely that your restraining order will deny you a job or a tenancy. However, if they’re particularly thorough and do an exhaustive search, they may find your restraining order, especially if you’ve breached it, and this may ultimately influence their final decision.
All in all, a restraining order can dictate your life, from where you live and work to where you can move and who you can talk to. That’s not even mentioning the fines and jail time that come with breaching the order. So, if you can, try to contest the order, and if that’s not possible, then you better abide by it till it expires.
To put it briefly, a restraining order won’t show up on your criminal record as long as you don’t breach it. If you do breach the order, then expect the order to stay on your record till the order expires or you’ve completed your conviction.
However, do know that restraining orders will remain indefinitely on the law enforcement and court records. So, unless you get your restraining order lifted, it’ll stay on the public records for as long as you shall live.