A civil harassment restraining order (CHRO) is much like a domestic violence restraining order. It is designed to stop abuse, threats of abuse, stalking, sexual assault, or serious harassment by someone. However, civil harassment restraining orders are more common for people you may not be as close with, such as neighbors, coworkers, or acquaintances. Certain family members who are more distantly related to you may also be served with a CHRO. This would include an uncle or aunt, niece, nephew, or cousin.
What a CHRO is for
A restraining order is a court order that specifically restrains one person. Some of the things it can order the restrained person to do are:
- Not contact you or any member of your household;
- Not go near you, your children, or others who live with you, no matter where you go;
- Stay away from your work, your school, or your children’s school; or
- Not have a gun or firearm.
What effect does a CHRO have on someone?
Apart from being restrained as listed above, having a restraining order against someone can cause additional effects on their life.
It can affect their ability to travel freely, affect their ability to get a new job (as it can show up in a background check), and can have a very negative impact on someone’s immigration status if they aren’t a citizen.
Meanwhile, if someone violates a restraining order, they could be charged with a crime, be forced to pay a fine, or even serve time in jail.
What happens after I file for a CHRO?
Upon filing for a CHRO, courts will often issue a temporary restraining order that day. This temporary order will keep the two sides away from each other until they attend a hearing.
At the hearing, both sides can call witnesses, present evidence, and provide oral arguments as to why a permanent restraining order should or should not be granted. If it is granted, the restraints could last up to five years, though three is most common. If it is denied, the restraints will fall away that same day.
CHRO hearings are civil cases but happen in family court
CHRO hearings are slightly different than other family law proceedings because they are technically civil cases, not family law cases. However, they do usually take place in family law courtrooms and the judges who hear these cases are usually family law judges.
This can create some odd situations where a good lawyer will need to understand how both family law courts and civil courts work to get the best result.
If you have been abused or harassed by someone who you have not dated and are not immediately related to (immediate relation would include a parent, grandparent, or sibling), a CHRO may be your quickest and simplest way to take care of the problem.
Consult with an attorney at our office before rushing into court to see if you have a viable case or not as they can be time-consuming and stressful without the proper guidance!