Key Differences Between Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders

File a Restraining Order Key Differences Between Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders

Order of Protection vs. Restraining Order

Although there is a noticeable increase in the number of protection/restraining orders issued annually, the statistics are a bit complex as it's difficult to distinguish between an order of protection and a restraining order. In most cases, the two terms are used interchangeably to mean one thing, even though they are different.

Simply put, a protection order (temporary or permanent) is court-issued public documentation showing that abuse has occurred and protects the victim from further abuse. On the other hand, a restraining order is a time-bound court order that prohibits the abuser from engaging in some actions like stalking.

While most state governments have an outlined process on how to get a protection or restraining order, it may not always be easy.  can help you get an order that suits your case so that you are able to live peacefully.

What Is the Difference Between a Protection Order and a Restraining Order?

In most states,  don't differ too much as they are both used to protect someone from abuse, harassment, threats, and stalking from another specified person. Here's how they work.

Order of Protection

It's an order issued by the court to protect the victim from further abuse by the specified person. In most cases where a protection order is issued, the victim doesn't want the abuser to be charged criminally or jailed for the offense.

A protection order can be issued temporarily or permanently. A temporary protective order is issued as an emergency protection order to protect a victim from any form of abuse for 15 days until the case is presented before a judicial officer in the presence of the accused abuser.

The court determines the case and determines whether to withdraw the temporary protection order or impose a permanent protection order.

An order of protection is determined as a criminal case, and violating the order could lead to arrest, prosecution, and consequential punishment as stipulated in the state law.

Restraining Order

A restraining order is issued by the court to prohibit the accused abuser from doing some actions that harm the victim. Some of those actions include:

  • Stalking
  • Approaching the victim
  • Communicating with the victim
  • Threatening the victim

Unlike the protection order that is linked to criminal charges, a restraining order links to civil case proceedings. This means that the police cannot arrest the abuser if they violate it, and the victim has to go back to court and seek civil resolution.

The court bases its judgment on facts presented at the hearing, and if the order has been violated, it may impose monetary charges for damages and further restrictions. Some different types of restraining orders include:

  • Stalking restraining orders
  • Domestic violence restraining orders
  • Civil harassment restraining orders
  • Workplace violence restraining orders

Check Your State's Order of Protection and Restraining Order Laws

Every state has its own laws that define protection and restraining orders. For example, California law states that it's a crime to violate an order of protection or a restraining order.

This table shows the different states with links where you can get more information on your state laws.

TexasNew JerseyAlabama
CaliforniaPennsylvaniaWashington DC
New YorkMarylandKansas
MassachusettsNevadaNew Mexico
North CarolinaTennesseeNebraska
VirginiaConnecticut Rhode Island
Washington StateSouth CarolinaIowa
ColoradoMinnesotaNew Hampshire

How to Obtain an Order of Protection or Restraining Order by Yourself

You may need a protective order or a restraining order if you are in any of the following situations.

  1. Someone is stalking you or communicating with you in a disturbing manner.
  2. Someone has physically or sexually abused you, and you are afraid they will do it again.
  3. Someone has threatened to hurt you.
  4. Someone is harassing you.

Each state has different procedures to follow when applying for an order of protection or a restraining order. However, the judicial officer will require irrefutable proof of claims of abuse before issuing any of the orders.

How to Obtain an Order of Protection or Restraining Order With the Help of DoNotPay

DoNotPay has a Restraining Order product that will compile all the required forms and guide you on a quick process in order to apply for an order in your jurisdiction. 

Here's how it works.

  1. Search for relationship protection on DoNotPay.


  2. Answer a few easy questions on our File a Restraining Order product.


  3. Submit the form and you’re done!


And that's it. DoNotPay will compile for you the forms you need to fill out and give you detailed instructions for how to file for a restraining order in your jurisdiction.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do? 

DoNotPay can help you with the following.

Check out DoNotPay's Restraining Order product information page for everything you need to know. 

Want your issue solved now?