Restraining orders, or protective orders in Indiana, are court orders that can significantly limit your rights. They are often granted in cases involving domestic violence. They typically restrict the alleged offender from having contact with another person. These orders can also exclude you from a shared residence, limit parenting time with shared children, and order payment for medical services and property damage. 

Violating a protective order is a crime in Indiana and can result in significant penalties. Because a restraining order is considered a civil matter, it is easier to obtain than a criminal conviction because the burden of proof is lower. 

Basis For Restraining Orders in Indianapolis 

In Indiana, there are several reasons why a protection order can be obtained, including:

  • The petitioner is a victim of domestic or family violence, a sex crime, stalking, or repeated harassment.
  • The petitioner is a parent or otherwise has a minor under their care who is a victim of domestic or family violence, a sex crime, sex grooming, stalking, or repeated harassment.
  • The petitioner is a victim of unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence in the workplace. 

Protection orders are usually provided to petitioners ex parte, meaning they are initially granted without a hearing. After the defendant is served with the copy of the ex parte order, there is a hearing scheduled to determine whether the temporary order should be a permanent order.

What One Must Be Able To Prove To Obtain a Restraining Order in Indianapolis 

What a person must prove to obtain a protection order in Indiana depends on the reason why they are requesting the protection order. 

Domestic or Family Violence

To obtain a domestic or family violence restraining order, the alleged perpetrator and victim must be related in certain ways to qualify, including:

  • Current or former spouses
  • Dating partners or former dating partners
  • Engaged or formerly engaged in a sexual relationship
  • Parents of a child in common
  • Related by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • Other relationships recognized by law, such as ward and guardian, custodian and ward, or foster parent and child

After establishing the relationship, the alleged victim must prove that the family or household member committed at least one of the following acts against them:

  • Causing, attempting to cause, or threatening to cause physical harm 
  • Placing them in fear of physical harm
  • Causing them to involuntarily engage in sexual activity by force, duress, or threat of duress
  • Killing or harming a pet 

The other types of protection orders do not require a family relationship to exist.

Sexual Assault

Victims of sexual assault can also seek a protection order. 

This term includes the following offenses:

  • Rape 
  • Sexual battery
  • Sexual misconduct with a minor
  • Child molestation
  • Child exploitation 
  • Performing sexual conduct in the presence of a minor
  • Vicarious sexual gratification
  • Possession of child pornography 
  • Child solicitation
  • Child seduction
  • Unlawful employment near children by a sexual predator
  • Sex offender residency or intender offense
  • Serious sex offender entering school property
  • Inappropriate communication with a child

It is not necessary for criminal charges to be filed against the alleged offender for the court to issue a sexual assault protection order. 


Stalking is repeated harassment that could cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened. Only two or more incidents of such conduct are required to be considered a repeated form of harassment that can subject a person to a stalking protective order. 


Harassment is repeated impermissible contact that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress. 

The Burden of Proof For Restraining Orders in Indianapolis 

The burden of proof for an alleged victim to obtain a protective order is lower than for a prosecutor to secure a criminal conviction. The burden is only by the preponderance of the evidence. That means that the facts are more likely than not how the alleged victim says – or more than 50%. 

Because the burden of proof is much lower, it is essential to have a qualified Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer represent you.

Contact the Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers For Help Today

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers; give us a call today at (317) 759-2599 or visit us at our Indianapolis law office.

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers – Indianapolis
101 W Ohio St #2000
Indianapolis, In 46204