If you are the subject of a restraining order in Rhode Island, it is crucial that you understand your legal obligations. If you violate the law, even unintentionally, you could be subject to significant legal reprisal, including jail time. This guide explains a few of the basics of restraining orders in the state so you can take the best course of action. 

Types of restraining orders 

There are actually two types of restraining orders, or protective orders, which may apply. A no-contact order accompanies a criminal charge and it will last as long as the criminal case and subsequent sentencing. However, it can be dropped if the target of the crime requests for it to be. In this case, a judge would need to approve the request before the order can be dropped. 

A restraining order can be issued regardless if a crime has been committed. They are most commonly issued after a person has cited a specific threat, which can include stalking, threats, or acts of physical or sexual violence. 

Duration of restraining orders 

When the initial claim is made, a temporary restraining order is put in place. This order can last up to 21 days to provide time for the defendant to be notified by the court. After the hearing, a restraining order can last as long as three years depending on the circumstances. It is also possible for an order to be extended if the person who files it applies for an extension. 

Violations 

If you violate the order, you will be charged with a criminal defense. Violations include contacting the person in any way, including meeting in person, calling, sending a letter, sending an email, or instructing a person to contact the person who created the order on your behalf. If you are convicted of a violation, you could be subject to up to a $1,000 fine and/or one year in prison.