Anything an attorney can do, you can technically do yourself. However, a good trial attorney prosecutes/defends restraining orders on a regular basis and knows the criteria the courts are looking for. If you truly need an order, you do not want to do it wrong and have the judge deny the restraining order and subsequently remain in danger or fear of imminent harm. Alternatively, if you are the party who is defending against the restraining order, you do not want to do it yourself and have it messed up and end up with a permanent or CLETS order against you in the system. It is generally minimally useful to hire an attorney after a permanent order has been placed against you. A good attorney can tell you what, from his experience, your probabilities of winning or losing. He can also present your case and help you to get the temporary order, have a temporary order dismissed, or help you at trial to either prosecute or defend a restraining order. The problem with trying to do it yourself is that most people are not familiar with the rules of evidence and court procedures. A “pro per” or self-represented litigant is expected to have the same knowledge as an attorney and to act in accordance with those same rules and guidelines. It is commin for a “pro per” to have a good case but basically be “shut down” because they did not know how to ask questions or how to properly present evidence. The other party, having an attorney will have the items objected to, and the person who really needs the restraining order loses because they just cannot get their evidence and testimony in front of the judge. So, if a person is serious about wanting a restraining order and seriously needs it, they definitely need to have an attorney. Alternatively, because of the serious nature and negative impact of a permanent order, no chance should be taken in defending against a domestic violence restraining order or a civil harassment restraining order.
For additional information please review the information available on the civil restraining orders and domestic violence restraining orders sections of our site at or contact the Divorce Attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel LLP at (760) 722-7646.