JONATHAN BURGE

Attorney at Law

Restraining Order

 

Restraining order violations are very common in Hawaii.  Once a person gets a restraining order against you, every time they call in a violation, the police will come out and arrest you.  They have a zero tolerance policy and let the courts sort our the validity of any complaints.  There is a possible one year jail sentence for each violation.  Sometimes, a conviction calls for a mandatory jail sentence.

Granting the Order

Often, persons in domestic disputes will file a restraining order against the other party.  Generally, this will happen at family court.  If the petitioner proves by a preponderance of evidence (just over 50%) that they have been abused or harassed in the past, an order is issued restraining future contact.

Also, at the restraining order hearing, temporary child custody matters may be decided.  In other words, along with a restraining order, the other party may also be awarded temporary custody of your children.  If you are convicted of abuse, there is a rebuttable presumption that you are an unfit parent.  This will make it very hard for you to be awarded custody.

If a judge issues a restraining order against you it is very important that you follow whatever restrictions are put on you.  If you donít agree with custody decisions, you can go back into family court to fix it.

Violation Enforcement - A One Sided Process

One of the problems with a restraining order is that the enforcement is one sided.  It doesn't matter if the original petitioner wants you back.  If there is an order against you, and you violate it, you get arrested.  As an example, if A gets a restraining order against B, B can get arrested for violating the order.  However, if A and B make up and begin living together again, B can still get arrested, unless the order is lifted by the court.

This often leads to unfair treatment of the parties.  We once defended a male whose girlfriend had a restraining order against him.  However, shortly after the order was issued they got back together.  They called each other dozens of times over a six-month period.  She would visit him at his house and often stay over. 

One day they got into a fight.  She left.  The next day he called her to make up, as they had numerous times in the past.  However, since the order was still in effect, this time when he called, she called the police.  He was arrested and the prosecutors made him go to trial. 

The bottom line is to obey the order, and if you want to get back together, get rid of the order in court before you start seeing the other party again.  If you are found guilty of violating a restraining order you can go to jail for up to one year. 

  No Guns During Restraining Order Period

During the period of restraint, you cannot possess or work with guns unless special permission is granted from the court.  Mr. Burge has represented numerous police officers and military persons affected by this provision of the restraining order law.  In fact, if you are ever convicted of a restraining order violation, you can never own or work with guns the rest of your life.  This creates special problems for people who work in professions impacted by this law.  Mr. Burge is well aware of this particular problem and always looks for ways to avoid this happening to his clients.

 

 

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