Step 4: Full court hearing
When the abuser receives a copy of the restraining order papers and knows about your petition, s/he has 30 days to ask for a hearing, which must be held within 21 days of that request.1 However, if the judge schedules an exceptional circumstances hearing, then there will be a hearing regardless of whether the abuser requests one or not. An exceptional circumstances hearing is held within 14 days from when the temporary restraining order is issued but the abuser can request that it be held earlier. If s/he makes such a request, the hearing will be held within five days of his/her request.2 The court will let you know if there is a hearing scheduled.
If the abuser requests a hearing, it is extremely important that you attend that hearing so that your restraining order doesn’t get dismissed. If you or any witness who you plan to have testify cannot attend the hearing in person, you can file a motion (court request) in which you ask the judge to allow you or your witness to “attend” by phone or by another two-way electronic communication device. If the judge believes there is “good cause” to allow this, the judge can allow it.3 For example, if you convince the judge that the safety of you or your witness would be threatened if the judge required you/your witness to appear in person, this could be considered “good cause.”
At the hearing, the judge may want to hear from you and from any witnesses that you may have who witnessed the abuse or your injuries. You will need to be specific when you testify. Describe:
- when and where the abuse took place;
- what happened;
- how you were injured;
- if an object was used to injure you, explain what was used. For example, explain to the judge if you were hit with a fist, an elbow, an open palm, a heavy object, on the floor or against a door or furniture, etc.;
- whether the police were called; and
- if you were treated by a doctor or medical professional.
If you have any pictures of your injuries, medical reports, or police reports, bring them to court with you. See our Preparing Your Case page for ways you can show the judge that you were abused.
If the abuser shows up to the hearing with a lawyer, you may ask the judge to postpone the hearing to a later date to give you some time to get a lawyer to represent you. Even if the abuser doesn’t have a lawyer, you may wish to bring one with you to the hearing to help present your case to the judge. See the Oregon Finding a Lawyer page for contact information for legal services organizations in your area. If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you a restraining order for up to one year, or the judge may order a new hearing date.4
1 O.R.S. § 107.718(10)(a)
2 O.R.S. § 107.718(2)
3 O.R.S. § 107.717(1),(3)
4 O.R.S. § 107.718(3)