How easy is it to obtain a Hawaii restraining order? Will a TRO really keep an abuser away?
Restraining orders in Hawaii are a serious matter. Whether it’s an injunction against harassment in District Court or a protective order in Family Court, such an order is issued by the court in order to protect a person in a potentially dangerous situation. When domestic violence, harassment or stalking are involved, all victims have the legal right to ask for protection.
But TROs are often a taboo topic. How much do you really know about getting a Hawaii restraining order and what kind of protection can you get from filing a TRO against your abuser?
What is a Hawaii restraining order and how does it protect you?
A Hawaii TRO is an order issued by the court that protects victims of abuse or harassment against their attacker. They become effective as soon as the respondent is served with copy and they can either be filed in family court or in district court, depending on who is threatening you.
Once a Hawaii restraining order is served, the TRO will tell your abuser by order of the court to refrain from further contacting, threatening or abusing you in any way. Refusal to follow the TRO guidelines is a serious violation of the law and can result in the arrest and conviction of the offender.
What do you need to file a TRO against your abuser?
Filing for a Hawaii restraining order is a straightforward process. Once you fill in the necessary forms, all you need to do is sign and file them. A Family or District court judge will review your application.
Provide as much details as possible and including information about property damage, documentation about your abuse and police or medical records.
After the judge reviews your application, the judge will either deny or grant the temporary restraining order. If the TRO is granted, you will be given a hearing date to appear at court. You should be prepared at that hearing with your evidence and to explain why you need to be protected. Although having a lawyer present is not mandatory, keep in mind a Hawaii restraining order can be a sensitive issue and consulting with a family law attorney for Family Court TROs can help. A good lawyer can inform you of your rights and can guide you through the process of filing a Hawaii restraining order against your abuser, or protect you from frivolous TROs.
What happens once the Hawaii restraining order is in place and how long does it last?
If after the hearing the judge believes you do need protection, the TRO will turn into either an injunction against harassment (in District Court) or an order for protection (in Family Court). The average length of time is about 3 years. In family court, you can ask for specific terms, such as requesting the respondent take anger management classes or substance abuse evaluations. Having a family lawyer present can help, as they can explain the terms you cannot understand and offer you the best legal advice that applies to your case.
You will receive a copy of the order. Make sure to carry it with you at all times and, should you lose it or if it gets destroyed, return to court as soon as you can and ask for a copy.
Although many disagree on the level of effectiveness of filing for a TRO, it’s still something to take into consideration if you are a victim of abuse or harassment. Consult with a family law attorney if you plan on filing for a Hawaii restraining order to find out more on how you can protect yourself against your abuser.