Nevada law provides for issuance of restraining orders, also called protective or protection orders, in specific circumstances, including domestic violence. In some cases, a change of circumstances that occurs after issuance of an order may justify asking the court for dissolution or modification of the order. Either party affected by a restraining order may ask the court to change or terminate the order. In most situations, representation by an attorney is advisable if you are seeking dissolution or modification of a restraining order.
State statutes in Nevada provide for temporary and extended protective orders for domestic violence, children in jeopardy of harm, sexual assault, stalking and harassment, workplace harassment, and high-risk behavior. Different laws govern each type of restraining order. For detailed information about the types of restraining orders, please refer to our article, Understanding Restraining Orders in Las Vegas.
A restraining order has significant effects on the lives of the individuals who are involved. On account of the ramifications, complexity of the statutes, and difficulty of the circumstances, getting assistance from a knowledgeable lawyer is strongly recommended, particularly if a request for a restraining order is filed against you. Asserting a strong defense from the very beginning is the best way to minimize the impact of the situation and possibly even avoid issuance of a protective order against you.
After an order is issued, options for dissolving (terminating) or changing the order are limited. An appeal or a petition requesting dissolution or modification are the only alternatives.
If an extended order of protection is issued, the case may be appealed to district court within a limited time. (No right of appeal exists for denial of an extended order.) On appeal, the district court only reviews the record that led to issuance of the order does not hear the case over from the beginning. You may be required to submit briefs and present oral argument. The judge may confirm, modify, or dissolve the order as the result of an appeal. Before appealing an extended order of protection, you should discuss your case with an experienced lawyer.
In addition to the possible right to appeal, a change in circumstances may justify asking the court to dissolve or modify a restraining order. This type of request must be made to district court, regardless of which official issued the restraining order. Either party may petition the court for dissolution or modification of a protective order.
In some cases, the court schedules a hearing for a petition to dissolve or modify a protective order. Both parties may appear and present arguments at the hearing. To have the best chance of succeeding in a petition or opposition to a petition, you should be represented by legal counsel. Courts have strict protocols and procedural rules that must be followed in any proceeding, including hearing, and the laws relating to restraining orders are complex. A lawyer not only understands the laws but knows how to present legal arguments to the judge.
Representation by legal counsel in a restraining order case, both initially and to petition for dissolution or modification, has significant advantages. One important reason for representation is that Nevada statutes governing restraining orders are extremely complicated in terms of substance the process and procedures that must be followed by the parties and by the courts. If you do not have a lawyer, you may not understand the substantive and procedural legal requirements that apply to your case.
Your lawyer’s role goes far beyond just knowing the law and legal process. Any case involving a protective order presents difficult and emotional circumstances for both parties. Your attorney understands that aspect and helps you navigate through the entire process. The assurance that your lawyer is there to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf provides significant moral support.
An attorney also handles discussions with everyone involved in the case, including law enforcement (in some cases) and prosecutors, as well as the judge. Throughout the process, your lawyer makes every effort to find a favorable resolution to the case by exploring alternatives or suggesting solutions that may be acceptable to the opposing party.
The consequences of a restraining order can be serious and long-term if you get adverse decisions from a judge. Without legal representation in a restraining order case, you will be on your own and without support or assistance throughout the process. Your chances of getting a successful resolution are significantly minimized if you are not represented by a lawyer.
Whether you are defending against a restraining order or seeking to have one issued, the best way to protect your rights is to have legal representation. Las Vegas family law and criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten has the skills and experience to help you navigate through the laws and court system. Your first consultation and case evaluation are always free-of-charge. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.