A Novel Restraining Order Defense

Posted on March 4, 2022


Restraining orders (also called orders of protection or protective orders) are often referred to as “quasi-criminal.” That’s because while they issue from civil courts, consequences of their real or merely alleged violation can have criminal consequences for defendants, for example, imprisonment.

As a thought exercise, consider when the last time was you heard of some sleazy fat cat, say, appearing before the court on criminal charges and pleading, “Did I do it? Yer goddam right I did!”

Never happens.

Here’s what you inevitably hear instead: “My client categorically denies the charges.

Yet the same person who pled innocent is never heaped with additional penalties for his or her plea if s/he’s later deemed guilty.

The restraining order defendant, a civil court defendant, is denied free counsel, denied time to prepare a defense, denied presumption of innocence, denied more than a few minutes to present what defense s/he may be able to throw together, and generally denied any orientation whatever.

This helps the process hum along efficiently.

The defendant may complain that some accusation or other is one-sided or half-true. S/he may think a judge is going to be sensitive to a here’s-the-whole-story approach. But this just presents the judge with the task of trying to tweeze important facts out of a swamp, and judges are notoriously lazy, inept, and indifferent.

This post imagines an alternative approach that takes its cue from criminal court.

What if the defendant, instead of trying to clarify, simply denied the allegations?

Q: “Do you know the plaintiff?”

A: “No I do not.”

Q: “Did you [call/text/email/visit] the plaintiff?”

A: “No I did not. The claim is false.”


If, for instance, the defendant were married to the plaintiff, denying any familiarity with him or her could pose some credibility problems. So a defendant taking this approach would have to be selective in what s/he denied.

The writer only imagines that were a defendant to deny everything s/he could and propose alternative explanations for any material evidence presented (“forged,” “faked,” “spoofed,” or what have you), it would shift the burden of proof onto the shoulders where it belongs, namely, the accuser’s.

That would be novel indeed.

Copyright © 2022 ProtectiveOrderVictims.com

*The writer can report that deflections by plaintiffs work very well: “I don’t recall that” and “That doesn’t sound like me” and “I don’t remember it that way.”