Experienced Rhode Island Restraining Orders Lawyer
Rhode Island courts issue three different types of restraining orders.
- A District Court restraining order applies to parties that have been in a substantive dating relationship in the last year but are not married and there are no children involved. Allegations may include physical or sexual abuse, stalking or cyberstalking. A judge or magistrate may grant a temporary order of protection requiring the defendant to surrender all firearms and appear at a hearing on the merits.
- A Family Court restraining order applies to parties that are married, have children in common or, even if the parties are not married, children are involved for which the plaintiff seeks protection. Once again, a temporary order of protection may be granted at the time of application, requiring the surrender of firearms.
- A Superior Court restraining order applies to parties that are unrelated but there are claims of abuse, violence or stalking.
A restraining order may be issued for up to three years. The standard of proof is preponderance of the evidence (51% to 49%) and the plaintiff is required to demonstrate an imminent fear of bodily injury.
A violation of a restraining order in District or Family Court is punishable as a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. A violation in Superior Court requires a separate contempt hearing.
- Restraining Order Denied: Plaintiff filed a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend claiming physical and emotional abuse. After cross-examination by Attorney MacDonald, however, it was clear that the plaintiff’s texts and picture history during the period of alleged abuse were directly at odds with her allegations of abuse. The requested permanent order was denied.
- Restraining Order Denied: Plaintiff filed a restraining order against an ex-boyfriend months after their breakup. Cross-examination by Attorney MacDonald revealed a clear motive of anger and resentment by the plaintiff because the boyfriend refused to resume the relationship. The requested order was denied.
If you, a family member or friend have been served with a restraining order, contact the Law Office of John E. MacDonald for a free consultation. 401-421-1440