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Understanding the restrictions that come with restraining orders

It is often said that there is a thin line between love and hate. Perhaps there is no other scenario where this axiom is more evident than in dealing with domestic relations. Married couples in Newport typically share very strong feelings for each which can vacillate between love and hate very quickly. In the event that in a seemingly hateful moment, one spouse allegedly assaults the other, the supposed victim may choose to seek a restraining order against the other until the situation has been dealt with and resolved. Indeed, according to information shared by the Providence Journal, 2,900 of such orders were issued in 2013.

The details of the restrictions that a restraining order places on an individual involved in a domestic violence case can be found in Section 15-15-3 of Rhode Island’s General Laws. Immediately after an order is issued, the defendant that it is against must:

  •          Vacate his or her household immediately
  •          Refrain from the contacting the person who petitioned for the order at home, on the street, or in any other circumstance
  •          Surrender custody of any minor children

Additionally, the court may order one against whom a restraining order has been issued in a domestic violence case to pay child support for a period of up to 90 days. It may also require, once a hearing has been held, that one surrenders any firearms that he or she owns.

Violation of a restraining order is considered to be a misdemeanor offense and is punishable by one year of imprisonment and/or fines of up to $1,000. A restraining order issued due to an incident of domestic violence can be valid for up to three years. 

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