One of the most important aspects of getting a domestic violence restraining order is to be prepared by gathering pertinent evidence in order to prove-up your case. The following are some helpful tips.
Have someone take photos of any and all of your injuries suffered. Make sure there are several pictures from different angles and distances – both close-up of the injury as well as a full body shot which shows your face to denote that it is in fact you who suffered the injuries.
You need to do this right away since your injuries may heal before the hearing date. Take the photos as soon as possible to coincide with the date you sustained the injuries. If police took the photos, you can request these from them for which you may have to pay a fee.
Often, there will be damaged items which may be preserved as evidence. For example, perhaps there was something that was thrown at you that broke into pieces or broke something else like a TV screen that shattered. Perhaps you have a torn piece of clothing from when the attacker grabbed you.
Photos or video showing the perpetrator near your house, property or workplace are also beneficial.
Prior Acts of Domestic Violence
If you’ve ever filed for a domestic violence case against the same person, make copies of the paperwork and any judgment rendered by the court. If the police came to take a report, you must get a copy of this report and bring it with you to your hearing.
Medical Reports and Records
If you received treatment for your injuries, you should get copies of your medical reports from the doctor or provider you were treated by.
Declarations from Witnesses
There may be one or more persons who have seen, heard or otherwise witnessed the actual abuse or its aftermath. These individuals can write a sworn declaration under oath stating what they know.
Keep any abusive or threatening letters, emails, text messages, voicemails from the abuser. Also, if there are any posts or messages sent to you on Facebook, Twitter or any other form of social media, keep a record of these.
Live In-Court Witnesses
You can also bring witnesses to the hearing to testify on your behalf. Upon the Judge’s discretion, they may or may not be given an opportunity to speak. This is based upon available time as well as other factors, but it may be worth the trouble to have them come to the Hearing whether or not they have prepared a written declaration. They can testify to having seen the abuser strike you, threaten you, verbally demean you, etc. They can attest to the injuries they saw as well.
Perhaps the abuser is harassing you with nonstop phone calls. Phone records showing repeated calls may be circumstantial evidence of ongoing harassment and stalking. You can also request a copy of any 911 calls or recordings and bring them to court as well.