Is there only one type of restraining order?

No.  A domestic violence restraining order - instituted by the Domestic Violence Protection Act - applies only to certain kinds of relationships.  Its specific purpose is to prevent the recurrence of domestic violence and to separate those involved so that they can “seek a resolution of the causes of the violence.”

In contrast, a civil harassment restraining order, for example, usually applies to a variety of irritating, non-life-threatening kinds of harassment (such as a neighbor’s dog that barks all night).

Both types of restraining orders prohibit contact.  A domestic violence restraining order, however, also prohibits the restrained person from possessing or buying a firearm - or even trying to acquire one.  By law, anyone violating this restriction is subject to a $1000 fine and imprisonment.  Such a violation is a separate federal crime as well.

Click here to return to Domestic Violence FAQ.