TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS IN HAWAII (TROs)
WHAT IS A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER?
- former spouses
- parents of a child together (but never married to each other)
- cohabitants (example — boyfriend/girlfriend living together)
- former cohabitants
- present or former “dating relationship”
Persons in these relationships can apply for a restraining order due to physical abuse, emotional abuse, and/or malicious property damage committed against them by the other party.
DISTRICT COURT — these types of restraining orders are issued for parties who do not fall into the Family Court relationship categories. A typical example of persons who would come under the District Court restraining orders are neighbors, co-workers, or schoolmates.
FAMILY COURT RESTRAINING ORDERS
WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM SERVED WITH A RESTRAINING ORDER?
If you are served with a restraining order, it is very important that you read it carefully, to make sure that you do not violate the order. The restraining order itself is a civil matter, not a criminal one. However, the violation of a TRO will be a criminal matter, and may result in your arrest, so it should be taken very seriously. Virtually any type of contact with the petitioner (the person who obtained the restraining order against you) will constitute a violation — in person contact, phone calls, texts, e-mails, U.S. Mail, or even having another person contact the petitioner for you. As noted in the section above, you will have an opportunity at a court hearing to tell your side and/or argue your case.
WHAT HAPPENS AT COURT?
On the day of the Court hearing, there are a number of other restraining order cases, often ten to fifteen, scheduled for the same time as your hearing. This is typical. Unfortunately, this often means that there is little hearing time available for each case, usually no more than twenty to thirty minutes at most. At Family Court, petitioners are seated in a separate area from respondents or defendants (the people who had the TRO filed against them).
DISTRICT COURT RESTRAINING ORDERS
HOW DO I GET A DISTRICT COURT RESTRAINING ORDER?
Getting a temporary restraining order requires a petition to be filed at the District Court, which has locations in downtown Honolulu, as well as in Pearl City, Kapolei, Wahiawa, and Kaneohe. As mentioned above District Court TROs typically involve neighbors, friends, co-workers, or classmates, but NOT between spouses, family members, or people in “dating” relationships. As with Family Court TROs, if the initial petition to the Court is granted, the TRO is put in place until a hearing can be held. At the hearing, the Court can decide whether or not the TRO should be extended, dissolved, or left in place to expire after 90 days.
WHAT CAN DOI / LUKE DO FOR ME?