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A restraining order attorney is a lawyer who specializes in either procuring restraining orders on behalf of his clients, defending his clients who have been served with a restraining order, or handling both types of cases, depending on the needs of a specific client. Although people do not always need an attorney in order to obtain a restraining order or even to defend themselves against one, in many cases it can be helpful to have an attorney who is familiar with restraining order laws to assist in a person's case. Often, a restraining order attorney also specializes in cases of domestic violence, harassment, or stalking, as these are areas of law in which restraining orders are frequently used.
A restraining order is sometimes referred to as an order of protection, a peace bond, or, in the United Kingdom a non-molestation order. These are typically issued in situations where one party has reason to believe that he is vulnerable to violence, harassment, or intimidation from another party. Typically, the party who seeks a restraining order must approach a judge with his request and may be required to supply the judge with evidence that a restraining order should be granted. The judge is usually at liberty to approve or deny the request and to set limitations on the length of the restraining order as well as the restrictions placed on the individual who receives it. In many cases, the recipient of an order of protection may have the opportunity to challenge the restraining order, or at least some of its terms, in a separate hearing that may be scheduled within a few days or weeks after the judge issues the original order.
Many people feel more comfortable requesting a protective order with the assistance of a restraining order attorney. The attorney can advise his client as to the suitability of a restraining order to his case and his chances of persuading a judge to implement certain conditions, and he can represent his client's interests in court. Similarly, a restraining order attorney can protect recipients from being the victims of frivolous accusations or from protective order restrictions that make it impossible for them to carry out normal day-to-day activities or earn a living. Such an attorney can be particularly helpful at a hearing in which the recipient asks the court to negate the restraining order or to alter some of its conditions, as emotions may run high and it can be difficult for the recipient to carefully and calmly establish his case for leniency.