Extending Your Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
A temporary restraining order is valid for 90 days from the time the respondent is served with the TRO papers. If you want to extend the order, a TRO/Injunction hearing is required. The date and time of your TRO/Injunction hearing appears on your TRO. During this hearing, you need to present the court with information about continued abuse and threats. Based on your testimony and documentation, the judge decides whether to extend your protection beyond 90 days. The judge can issue an injunction for up to three years.
The respondent will be ordered by the court to appear for the hearing. If you do not appear, your petition will be dismissed, even if the respondent hasn’t been served with a copy of the TRO.
Presenting Your Evidence
At the hearing, the respondent will have a chance to defend against the claims you have made. Be prepared to present clear and convincing evidence about the abuse. In your case, you may:
- Bring witnesses.
- Provide personal records, medical and police reports.
- Report any TRO violations that occurred after the respondent was served.
If the respondent has an attorney but you don’t have one, you may ask the judge for a continuance, or another court date. This will give you time to get an attorney. The judge may or may not grant your request. If the judge denies your request, proceed with presenting your evidence.
The judge will order the respondent to turn his/her firearms over to the police.
If Respondent Fails to Appear in Court
If the respondent is not at the hearing because he or she was not served, ask the judge to temporarily extend the TRO and get a new hearing date, which will usually be two weeks from the original date, but may be extended for a longer time period. Give your original TRO to the law clerk so your TRO is officially extended to the new hearing date. Then, take a copy of the new TRO and request an extra certified copy and two copies of the “Return of Service” to the police so they can serve the respondent with information about the new hearing date.
If the respondent was served but fails to appear, the judge is likely to issue an injunction for up to three years. The court will give you two copies, one to keep and one to take to the police so the respondent can be served with this injunction.
After the Decision
If an injunction is ordered to replace the TRO, stay in the courtroom until the judge gives both you and the respondent certified copies of the new court order. You can ask the judge to allow you to exit the courtroom first.
Keep a copy of your TRO with you at all times and report violations to the police immediately.
Remember, a TRO or injunction does not necessarily make you safe. Please take proper precautions.