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Are Restraining Orders Public Record?
(4 Most Common Types Explained)

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is not currently accepting these types of cases and has posted this content for information purposes only. We encourage you to seek a qualified attorney, if you feel you might have a case.

A criminal background check will likely include this information because restraining orders are part of the public record.

As a criminal defense attorney for over 10 years, I have seen the potential negative implications, such as difficulty obtaining current or future employment, housing, and other benefits.

In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about restraining orders and how they can affect your life.

Quick Summary

  • Temporary restraining orders are only visible to law enforcement officials.
  • In criminal and civil court proceedings, restraining orders may be issued as part of the ruling.
  • With the Domestic Violence Restraining Order placed by the court, you can rest assured knowing that your safety is secured from future abuse or threats.

What Are Restraining Orders?

A lawyer reading up on restraining ordersRestraining orders are court-ordered documents that prohibit a person from contacting another individual, usually for reasons related to domestic violence or abuse [1]

The purpose of these orders is to protect the victim from further harm or harassment and to help them establish a safe living environment.

The individual receiving protection is the protected person, and the other party involved is referred to as the restrained person. Violating a restraining order is considered a criminal offense.

A restraining order is also frequently referred to as:

Some states mandate that a permanent restraining order requires the abuser to surrender their firearms to either law enforcement or an approved gun store.

This is a critical layer of protection for abuse victims and helps ensure they stay safe.

Nonetheless, a temporary restraining order that never becomes a long-term measure would only be visible to law enforcement officers.

Unfortunately, sometimes temporary restraining orders that should have been removed remain accessible on public records as if they were permanent restraining orders.

That's where our criminal defense expertise comes in - we will present your case effectively and do everything possible to get the best result.

Types Of Restraining OrdersA lawyer holding paperwork in an office

It is vital to remember that the longevity of a restraining order depends on its type. There are two main types of restraining orders – temporary ex parte orders and final orders – and various sub-categories beneath them. 

For example, temporary restraints may remain in effect until an official court hearing. In contrast, permanent restrictions continue indefinitely or for a specified period determined by the courts. There are four types of restraining orders:

1. Domestic Violence Restraining Order

A lawyer looking at a domestic violence restraining orderSuppose you have endured any form of abuse or fear of abuse by a person with whom you were in an intimate relationship, like married couples, domestic partners, separated people who are still legally bound to each other, or dating someone, for instance.

In that case, obtaining a restraining order is how to protect yourself.

The court's Domestic Violence Restraining Order will guarantee your safety from the abuser and their threats.

Related Article: Domestic Violence Classes

2. Elder Or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order

This type of order is reserved explicitly for elderly or disabled individuals aged 65 and over or between 18-64 with disabilities that impede them from completing regular daily tasks.

This form of protection guards these groups from being taken advantage of and, in most criminal cases, involves family members as well.

3. Civil Harassment Restraining Order

A court order this restraining order guards individuals from violence, intimidation, harassment, or the potential for violent activity.

4. Workplace Violence Restraining Order

In some states, federal and state law provides a powerful means of defense for employees who are victimized by workplace violence or threatened with such acts. 

These restraining orders act as safeguards that protect them from unlawful behavior and can be issued by court order.

Related Article: Retaliation in The Workplace

"If you are tried and acquitted of domestic violence or criminal charges, and you were granted a Petition for Factual Innocence, this would only destroy police arrest records and criminal court files, not seal the restraining order."
- Brian C. Andritch, Lawyer at Fresno Defense

Is A Restraining Order Public Record?

A lawyer looking at a restraining orderYes, a restraining order is a public record. Sealing or expunging criminal records is the only form of record keeping that can be legally carried out, leaving civil cases unable to take advantage of this action. 

You can either request a copy from the court clerk or online. Since court records are primarily accessible, restraining orders can also be accessible through electronic court records online. 

A restraining order can be issued as part of a criminal or civil court judgment. It's important to note that a restraining order does not always require an associated criminal charge but will be visible in your criminal records.

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What Happens At A Permanent Restraining Order Hearing?

At a permanent restraining order hearing, the plaintiff must demonstrate that a restraining order is merited - just as it would be in any other legal case. 

Is It A Crime If You Violate A Restraining Order?

Yes, it is a crime if you violate a restraining order. Failing to adhere to a restraining order in California can have dire consequences, especially when done intentionally and knowingly before the set court date expires.

Should You Disclose A Restraining Order To A Potential Employer?

No, you should not disclose a restraining order to a potential employer if not asked. When an employer inquires about your criminal record, it implies that specific documents are pertinent to the position or else they would be advantageous in doing the job.

Will A Restraining Order Show Up On A Background Check Requested By An Employer?

Yes, a restraining order will show up on a background check requested by an employer. Employers can utilize background checks that delve into state or county court records to search for applicants' and employees' matches.

Related Article: Misdemeanors that Prevent Employment

Talk To A Criminal Defense Lawyer

A restraining order filed against you can impact your life; that is why you should contact  Schmidt & Clark, LLP who have extensive experience in stay-away orders and can help.

Our defense lawyers will fight to challenge the basis of an order, prevent a judge from issuing it as part of your court case, and try to remove it from public view. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.