When and where do I file for a permanent restraining order? How long do they last?
You can file for a permanent restraining order in front of the criminal court judge in General Sessions Court at the time a conviction is entered or in front of a civil court judge in the Court of Common Pleas any time after the respondent is convicted. The court would then set a date for a hearing where you would appear to request the order. The respondent has 30 days to respond to your petition.1
If you want to get an immediate, temporary ex parte order while you wait for the hearing, you would have to file a separate petition for an emergency restraining order at the Magistrate’s Court. The Magistrate’s Court would then hold a hearing within 24 hours and decide whether to issue the temporary ex parte order.2
The judge will decide how long a permanent restraining order lasts.3 There is no specific timeframe laid out in the law. You can file a request to have the order extended, though, before it expires.4
1 S.C. Code § 16-3-1910(B), (G)
2 S.C. Code § 16-3-1920(A), (H)(1)
3 S.C. Code § 16-3-1910(M)(1)
4 S.C. Code § 16-3-1910(M)(2)