Can the abuser have a gun?
Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession. There are a few places where you can find this information:
- first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Oregon have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
- second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
- third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.
You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website.
Will I have to face the abuser in court?
Maybe. A judge can give you a temporary restraining order without a full court hearing and without the abuser present. However, the abuser has the right to request a hearing, within 30 days of being served with the paperwork notifying him/her of the temporary restraining order, for a chance to tell his/her side of the story. If the abuser does request a court hearing, a hearing will normally be set for some time during the following 21 days. You must attend that hearing. If you do not go to the hearing, a judge may take away your temporary restraining order. You may have to face the abuser at that hearing.
If the abuser does not request a court hearing, your temporary restraining order can last for up to one year.
You may have additional court hearings if you want to change or extend your restraining order, or if the abuser violates the restraining order. The abuser may come to those hearings. See How do I change or renew (extend) the permanent restraining order?.
What should I do when I leave the courthouse?
Here are some things that you may want to consider doing. Please evaluate each one in the context of your specific situation to see if you think that it is appropriate for you:
- Review the order carefully before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave.
- Make several copies of the restraining order as soon as possible.
- Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
- Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
- Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a picture of the abuser.
- Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
- If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
- You may wish to consider changing your locks, if permitted by law, and your phone number.
You might find it helpful to talk to someone at a domestic violence organization near you for support. See OR Advocates and Shelters for contact information.
Even with a restraining order, it is important to take safety precautions and create a safety plan to keep you and your children as safe as possible. Please read our Safety Tips information or ask your local domestic violence advocate to help you design a safety plan that is best for you.
What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
If the abuser violates the restraining order, you can immediately call 911. Make sure that the officers make a report so there will be a record of the violation. Write down the officer's name, badge number, and report number. Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it may help you have the order extended or modified. According to the law, a peace officer must arrest the abuser and take him/her into custody (without a warrant) when the peace officer has probable cause to believe that a restraining order exists, was properly served and was violated.*
If the police are called and the abuser is arrested, a court hearing may be set to have him/her found in "contempt of court" for violating the restraining order, or criminal charges can be filed. At the hearing, if the abuser is found in contempt of court, the maximum punishment could be a fine and/or up to six months in jail. Your local district attorney is required to represent your interests at the contempt hearing if you cannot afford to hire your own attorney.**
The restraining order can play an important role in protecting yourself, but it is important to create a safety plan or go to a local support center for additional help in keeping yourself as safe as possible. For additional help, please see our Safety Tips and OR Advocates and Shelters pages.
* O.R.S. § 133.310(3)
** Oregon State Bar website
How do I renew (extend) the restraining order?
You can go back to the court where you originally filed the Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order and request an extension. There does not have to be a further act of abuse in order to get it renewed.* A judge may renew (extend) the restraining order if s/he finds that you are reasonably afraid of further acts of abuse by the abuser (respondent) if the order is not renewed.** If your child was included in the order, and now your child has reached the age of 18, s/he can get the order extended for himself/herself if s/he is reasonably afraid of further acts of abuse by the abuser (respondent) if the order is not renewed.** Even if the original petitioner/parent does not want the order renewed for himself/herself, the child (who is now 18) can still get the renewed order for himself/herself (s/he does not have to file a new petition).*** In order for the court to renew your restraining order, you must request the renewal before your current order ends.
If the judge decides to grant the renewal, the abuser will be notified of the renewal. The abuser then has the right to request a hearing to fight the renewal. If the abuser requests a hearing, the judge will schedule the hearing within 21 days.**** If this happens, you might find it helpful to have an attorney. Go to our OR Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals.
* O.R.S. § 107.725(2)
** O.R.S. § 107.725(1)
*** O.R.S. § 107.725(3)
**** O.R.S. § 107.725(4)
Is the restraining order still valid if I move?
Your order is good wherever you go in Oregon. Additionally, the federal law provides what is called "Full Faith and Credit," which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands. Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders. To find out more information about your new state’s policies, go to Know the Laws and choose your state from the drop-down menu on the left side of the screen. Under the Restraining Order section, you will find information about “Enforcing an Out-of-State Order.”
You may want to have your address changed officially by the court. However, if your new address is confidential from the abuser, be sure to ask the clerk how to keep the new address confidential from the abuser if s/he checks the court records for any reason. Check with a local domestic violence organization for more help.
If you are moving to a new state, you may want to call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111 x 2) for information on enforcing your in your new state. They might be able to tell you if the new state requires you to register the order with that state and other useful information. However, before registering the order, you should make sure that the new state will not notify the abuser that you are living there if this will be unsafe for you.
Keep in mind that if your order includes an order about custody or visitation of a minor child, you may have to give notice to and seek permission from the court and/or the abuser of your move, depending on what your order says and the laws in your state. Please speak to an attorney for more information. You can find legal referrals on our OR Finding a Lawyer page.
What if I want to drop (dismiss) my permanent restraining order?
If you want to drop your restraining order, you need to go back to the court that issued your order and fill out dismissal papers. You may have to talk to the judge and tell him/her why you want to drop the restraining order. Different judges have different ways of handling these requests. Some judges will ask you lots of questions, but other judges will just sign the dismissal order without asking you anything. In some counties, the judge will tell you to go to a class with other domestic violence victims before the judge agrees to drop the order.
In some cases, the judge will try to help you figure out whether there is a way to modify (change) your order so that it can still give you some protection from abuse, but so that you can have the contact you want with the abuser.
If you have dropped your restraining order (or let it run out) and you are abused again, you can always go back to court for a new restraining order if you meet the requirements. Talking to a domestic violence advocate might help you decide which option is best for you. See our OR Advocates and Shelters page for referrals to local domestic violence organizations.