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Protection Order vs Restraining Order: Which Provides Better Security and Protection?

In the U.S. alone, physical abuse from intimate partners affects 10 million men and women each year. Stalking is also prevalent, with 5.1 million men and 19.3 million women having experienced it in their lifetime.

If you or a loved one is a victim of such crimes, please know you can get a protection or restraining order. These court orders provide legal protection, personal safety, and security measures against further abuse, violence, or harassment.

Keep reading this protection order vs. restraining order guide to help you determine which best applies to your case. 

Protection Order vs. Restraining Order: Key Differences

The differences between these two legal protections vary from state to state.

Let’s use a protective order in Utah as an example. Courts typically issue this legal protection for cases where a domestic relationship exists. They may also require proof of previous or a significant likelihood of abuse and violence.

In other states, restraining orders are for cases where the involved parties don’t have a domestic relationship. An example is if a person is a victim of harassment and stalking by a stranger.

States like Texas also issue both protection and restraining orders for domestic cases. Here, courts issue protection orders if they determine that one or more parties are in evident physical or sexual danger or violence. They may then issue restraining orders for civil cases, which stop the defendant from doing specific actions.

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When to Get a Protection Order

If you or a loved one has already experienced abuse and violence, you may be able to get a protection order. Please do the same even if you only strongly believe that you or your loved one is in imminent danger. A family lawyer can help you file the appropriate order in court.

When to Get a Restraining Order

If a person you don’t have a domestic relationship with stalks, harasses, or threatens you, please file a restraining order immediately. An example is if a stranger stalks or follows you around. Such cases are prevalent, with about one in three men and one in four women experiencing such. 

Depending on your state, you may also need a restraining order for a civil case like a divorce.

For example, suppose you’re still waiting for the family court to grant you custody of your children. However, you’re afraid that your ex-spouse may do something like unenroll your kids from school and move them out of state. In that case, you may file a restraining order against your ex-spouse to prevent them from doing such actions.

As you learned in this protection order vs. restraining order guide, the difference between the two depends on state laws. In places like Utah, a protection order is usually for abuse or violence victims of domestic relationships. In other states, such as Texas, protection orders are for criminal cases, while restraining orders are for civil cases.

If you’re still unsure of which order to get, a lawyer can help. They can give you expert advice and help you file the correct one.

For more legal guides like this, browse our latest blog posts.

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by Sushree Swagatika

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