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What happens when you have an injunction against you?

Injunctions, also known as "restraining orders," are orders from the court that do not allow you to go within a certain distance of a person or person(s). These are usually ordered to protect someone who claims to be a victim or potential victim of abuse. You may have an injunction ordered against you, for instance, if you and your spouse or another party have had a scuffle or if the other party claims you have been abusive or threatening to them.

This is how the injunction process works: Those who believe they have been abused or that you have threatened abuse to them or their children can go to the circuit court and file for a temporary injunction. The injunction request is given to the judge by the clerk, who makes a decision whether or not to issue the temporary injunction. At this point, the judge makes the decision based only on the information provided by the petitioner. Once the injunction order is granted, it is immediately in effect.

What this means for you is that you must not go within 500 feet of the petitioner of the injunction or contact him or her in any way. In the case of a spouse, you will have to leave the home, and if children are involved, the petitioner may be given temporary full custody of them. Even visitation with your children can be restricted or limited.

A temporary injunction order does not last over 15 days. During that time, a hearing will be held to determine if the injunction should be lifted, extended or made permanent. At the hearing, other issues are taken into account, which includes any criminal charges or other offenses you may have had in the past. For permanent injunctions, you are restricted from owning or possessing any firearms or ammunition.

The consequences of violating an injunction can include jail time, as well as attending mandatory classes and other penalties. Temporary injunctions can limit where you can go and who you can see, and that might include your children. Before your hearing, you will want to provide your attorney with your side of the story so he or she can prepare a defense against the alleged accusations, or you may find the injunction a permanent part of your life.

Source: WomensLaw.org, "Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic Violence," accessed Sep. 25, 2015

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