Home Law Facts How long does a restraining order last?

How long does a restraining order last?

sexual battery

How long a restraining order lasts is dependent on the type of imposed by a court. A restraining order that’s temporary will typically be valid for 14 days or until such a time that the substantive case is heard.

If you’re looking to learn more about what a restraining order entails, the types, how long it lasts and how to get a restraining order revoked, this article is for you. Read on to know more.

What is a restraining order?

restraining order meaning

A restraining order is an order by a court prohibiting a person from coming into contact with another person, business, entity or object. It is usually instituted as a means to protect a person or entity from harm, physical or sexual abuse, stalking, damage by the person subject to the order.

For instance a person who is a victim of abuse in a relationship can seek a restraining order against the partner to prevent the partner from further harming the victim.

Forms of restraining order

There are two forms of restraining orders a court can issue which in turn determines how long a restraining order lasts. They are:

1.Temporary restraining order

This type of order only lasts until the hearing of the substantive issue, typically lasting for 14days. It is a necessary measure to prevent a victim from suffering further abuse or harm before the case is heard for the court to determine the merit.

2. Permanent restraining order

Following the hearing of the restraining order case, a judge may decide, based on the merits of the case, to impose a permanent order which is enduring and lasts for several years. If the judge however determines that the plaintiff faces no risk of abuse, harm or harassment from the respondent, the court may decline the request.

How long does a restraining order last?

Depending on the nature of the order and wording, a restraining order can last between up to 5 years or as indicated in the order.

Typically, the duration of a temporary restraining order is between 14-22days prior to the hearing in court while a permanent restraining order can last up to 5 years.

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How long does a restraining order last in California?

There are four types of restraining orders in California, and depending on which one an order falls under, the duration can be between 5 days and up to 5 years. The various types are discussed below.

1. Emergency Protective Order (EPO)

An emergency protective order is the restraining order with the shortest duration. It is issued by a court upon request by law enforcement in California when an officer has grounds to believe an alleged victim faces immediate harm or danger in domestic violence cases.

It is legally binding for up to 5 days until a more permanent order can be sought in court. The main difference between a temporary restraining order and an EPO is the speed at which it is granted.

An EPO can be granted within anytime of day or night upon request by an officer but a temporary order may take some time to get.

2. Domestic Violence Protective Restraining Order

sexual battery

This type of restraining order is a form of temporary order that is granted for the protection of domestic violence victims before the hearing of the substantive case. It lasts between 3 weeks and can go up to 5 years when granted permanently.

3. Civil harassment order

This is another temporary restraining order aimed at preventing further harassment. It remains in place until a court hearing which normally is between 14-22days.

4. Criminal Protective Order

A criminal protective restraining order prohibits a person from coming into contact with a victim, shielding the victim from further harm. It can lasts for up to 1 year and must be renewed if victim wishes it to be in place longer than that.

How long does a restraining order last in UK?

In the UK, a temporary restraining order can last anywhere between 5 to 14 days. However, it could be longer if the date for the hearing is extended.

A permanent restraining order can last several months and up to a year. In some instances, a permanent order can be indefinite. The duration and conditions of the order will be contained in the judgment by the court.

How Long Does A No Contact Order Last?

A no contact order is one that prohibits any form of communication between the two parties, especially in a criminal case involving claims of abuse, battery, assault or threats of physical harm.

A no contact order will last until a final determination by the court is done and either lifted or left in place. However, if both parties agree to resume communication or the alleged victim unilaterally and voluntarily wishes to drop the order, the court may consider.

This may be especially necessary in domestic violence cases where children are involved. The court must be petitioned with valid reasons why the “no contact order” must be lifted, the exact type of contact to be allowed (Unrestricted or restricted contact).

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The court may decide to lift the order if it deems that doing so will not put the alleged victim in harms way.

How Long Does A Protective Order Last?

A protective restraining order will last for 1 year. After the order expires, a renewal application must be made to the court if victim wishes to have the protective order in place for another year.

If granted, the other party, his attorneys and the law enforcement must be notified of the renewed order.

How to get an order of protection dismissed

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The process of getting an order of protection dismissed depends on whether you are the victim or the one the order is against. Only the one being protected by the order can petition the court to dismiss it.

If you and the victim both agree that the order of protection is no longer necessary, the victim can petition the court to get it dismissed. Note that the final decision lies with the judge who will access the petition on it merits.

To get an order of protection dismissed before the expiry date, follow these steps:

  1. The victim must assess and reasonably conclude that they’re no longer at risk of harm from the other.
  2. The victim, through his/her attorney can petition the court through an application to have the order dismissed.
  3. The court will consider the case, the merits and if it determines that dismissing the order will not put the victim in harms way, they may dismiss it.

Order of protection vs restraining order

While an order of protection and a restraining order are fundamentally similar, the notable difference is how long both last. An order of protection lasts up to 1 year while a restraining order, depending on whether it is temporary or permanent, can last for up to 5 years. Both are however, renewable.

What proof do you need for a restraining order

If you have been physically abused or have been threatened with harm, you can lodge a complaint with the police who will take a written statement, check for physical signs among others in building your case for court.

The police can request for an emergency protective order if they find actionable evidence of physical abuse or imminent harm from another person.

How a restraining order affects you

For the victim, a restraining order offers protection from further abuse, harassment or harm from the perpetrator. On the other hand, the person who has a order placed on them faces several restrictions and can even affect their future prospects.

1. Restriction of movements

Typically, a restraining order prevents you from coming close to the victim, setting a minimum distance from which you must always stay away from the victim, a home or entity. This obviously restricts your movement because you’re always careful not to violate the order.

2. No contact

You’re prohibited from contacting a victim via Text message, calls, email or mail once a restraining order is granted against you. Effectively, you must cease all communication with the victim.

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This also means if you live together with the victim, you will have to find new accommodation. In a domestic case, you will be required to provide financial support to the victim(s).

3. Appears in background check

A permanent restraining order will appear in your background check, therefore affecting your employment chances. Having such dent in your records will put employers off and that will have a serious effect on your finances.

4. You can’t posses a firearm

Most permanent restraining orders bars you from possessing a firearm. Possessing one contrary to the order is a criminal offence that can see you get prosecuted and face jail time and/or fines.

What happens when you violate a restraining order?

Getting a restraining order is a civil process, but violating one is contempt of court, a criminal offence. Depending on the nature of the violation, and your history, violating a restraining order can be treated as a misdemeanor and you may face jail time or fines when found guilty.

If weapons are involved or you are a repeat violator, you could face felony charges which carry up to several years in prison and fines exceeding $1000.

How to lift a restraining order

There are two main ways by which a permanent restraining order may be lifted.

1. Upon expiry

Unless a restraining order is indefinite, upon expiry of the order, it is automatically lifted. It must be noted that a victim can apply to have the it renewed if the threat still exists.

2. Application by victim

The victim can unilaterally and without compulsion, apply to the court to have the order lifted. The court will probe the application to determine if the application was made under compulsion or threat.

If it is found that the victim was not forced or coerced to seek the lifting of the order, the court may grant the request. The court can however, decide to decline the application if it deems that doing so will put the victim in the way of harm.


In answering “how long does a restraining order last?”, we have discussed the meaning, types and duration, how to lift it among other relevant topics related to restraining orders.

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