Advice Request 4/17/16
"So this isn't exactly dating advice but maybe you can help. I think I need to get a restraining order or order of protection. Do you know anything about those? This psycho that I met online and started seeing has began coming to my job and sending a lot of mixed messages since I let him know I was no longer interested in seeing each other. How do I go about protecting myself?"
"Thank you for reaching out! While this isn't necessarily dating advice, it is something I've experienced and would be glad to point you in the right direction. If you are in need of legal advice, as this is in no way to be taken as such, you may be able to ask a free question from a lawyer at Avvo.com. In order to file what is known as an order of protection, you'll have to contact your city's criminal court system. The first thing you need to consider before taking this to court level is if you are being threatened or if you just want this person to stop calling or texting you. Is this something that can be stopped if you simply block their number or start screening your calls?
If you answered no and they have made verbal or physical threats to you, before filing an order in court you should contact your local police precinct located in the same zip code that the incident occurred to file a police report. Besides keeping your police report with you, keep a record of all texts, emails, and all electronic communication where such threats to you, your family, pets or property have been made. If you're able to, print them out when filing your report with the criminal court. If this is a domestic case in which the party resides with you, you may want to also file an order with the family court as well. You may be appointed free representation depending on your state or city's laws if this is somehow a domestic case or depending on the severity.
Keep in mind that the order of protection, once served is a written warning to avoid all contact with you based on conditions of which the court judge will announce. Be sure to have a physical location or address to have your individual served. While this is a written warning, of course be sure to stay alert of your surroundings at all times and end communication with said party by letting them know you do not wish to be contacted by them again in writing. Notify close friends and relatives of your whereabouts at all times and if necessary, research your local laws in regards to firearms, pepper spray, etc. Once issued, keep a copy of the order with you at all times during the length of time that the order is in force.
Hope this helps. Stay safe and know that this is the beginning of your peace of mind.