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Conway Criminal Law Blog

How Do I Apply for a Restraining Order?

If you’re being stalked or harassed by someone else in the State of South Carolina, you don’t need a special relationship with the person, such as being their spouse, romantic partner, or family member, to obtain a restraining order against them. If someone has obtained a restraining order against you or if you’re facing a criminal charge, it’s time to consult with an experienced Marion, South Carolina, criminal defense attorney.

The Difference between an Order of Protection and a Restraining Order

Many people confuse orders of protection with restraining orders, and it helps to make the distinction clear. If you have been subjected to physical or sexual abuse or to credible threats of such abuse and are in a close relationship with your abuser, such as if they are your spouse, romantic partner, or family member, you can seek an order of protection from a South Carolina family court.

To obtain a restraining order, however, you’ll need to go through the magistrate court. Restraining orders apply to victims of harassment or stalking, which refer to menacing actions like the following:

To qualify for a restraining order, there must be a pattern of harassment or stalking involved, which means the accused must have engaged in actions such as these more than one time.

The Filing Process

After you file your complaint in the magistrate court, it will be served on the accused, and a hearing date will be set from 5 to 15 days out. At the hearing, you and the accused are allowed to testify before the judge – and each of you may be represented by legal counsel. At the hearing, the judge will determine if a restraining order is needed.

If the Restraining Order Is Signed

If the judge signs off on your restraining order, you’ll need to decide how you want to proceed, which may include pressing criminal charges against the accused in addition to taking the steps you consider necessary to better protect yourself moving forward, which may include:

Restraining orders remain in effect for one year, and to extend yours, you’ll need to contact the magistrate court for a renewal hearing.

An Experienced Marion, South Carolina, Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

The trusted Marion, South Carolina, criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Brad C. Richardson appreciate the serious impact that a criminal record can have on your life and will spare no effort in their advocacy for your case’s best possible resolution. For more information about what we can do to help you, please don’t wait to reach out and contact us online or call 843-488-4321 today.