Do I need an attorney to represent me in a protection order or anti-harassment order case?
A lawyer is not required in these proceedings, but it can make a critical difference in the outcome to have representation. Many people represent themselves in these civil proceedings. The petitioner files a document explaining why a protection/anti-harassment order is needed and the respondent must defend against those accusations and explain why it is not appropriate for the Court to issue such an order. It is extremely important that a respondent defend him or herself against a baseless petition for an order of this kind, because once an order is in place, an allegation that the order has been violated is a criminal offense. These cases often arise after a long history of acrimony between two parties or alongside a family law case or criminal allegation. It can be difficult to figure out what documents to provide to the Court and which events in a long history are most relevant. It can be very effective to have a lawyer represent you either as the petitioner or the respondent. Your lawyer can digest and organize the important facts in a way that the Court can understand why the petition should (or should not) be granted and determine which supporting documentation is most compelling and should be provided to the Court.