Whether you’re in the middle of legal proceedings, looking for a new job, or for personal relationships, a restraining order can raise numerous questions and concerns. The duration of these records remaining on file depends on jurisdictional regulations. In some places, restraining orders may stay on record for a specified period, such as several years, even after the order expires or is lifted, yet there are cases where completing a certain period without further incidents may make you eligible to have the record expunged or sealed.

So, does a restraining order go on your record? The answer depends on the specific policies and regulations in your jurisdiction. In many cases, restraining orders are considered public records, and information about them may be accessible through background checks, and members within the community may also become aware of them.

In this article, we will go over the potential implications of a restraining order on your background check, employment prospects, education and licensing, and housing opportunities, as well as the long-term consequences and possible avenues for record expungement.

Background Check Implications

When a restraining order is issued, it becomes a matter of public record. This means that information about the order, including details about the parties involved and the terms of the order, is accessible to the public. This information is typically included in your background check, as background check agencies often access it as part of their reporting.

A restraining order can raise concerns for certain individuals or organizations. Some employers, for example, may view a restraining order as a red flag, indicating potential issues with conflict resolution or interpersonal relationships. Landlords may also be hesitant to rent to someone with a restraining order, as they may perceive it as a potential risk to other tenants.

The impact of a restraining order on your record can vary depending on the context, such as the type of restraining order, the specifics of the case, whether you violate the order, and the individuals reviewing the information.

Impact On Employment Prospects

Employers are legally allowed to consider a restraining order when making hiring decisions, especially if the nature of the order is related to violence or harassment. They may view it as a potential threat to the safety and well-being of their employees, clients, or customers. Even if the restraining order isn’t directly related to the job you’re applying for, employers may still have reservations about hiring you.

Each employer has its own policies and procedures when it comes to evaluating candidates with a restraining order. Some employers may be more understanding and willing to give you a chance to explain the circumstances surrounding the order. Others, however, may automatically disqualify you from consideration.

To improve your chances of securing employment, be transparent and address the restraining order during the application process. Prepare an explanation that focuses on personal growth, lessons learned, and steps taken to ensure it won’t affect your work performance. You can also seek legal advice to determine if there are any options available for expungement or sealing the restraining order from your record.

Educational & Licensing Repercussions

When it comes to your education, having a restraining order can make it difficult to secure scholarships or grants. Universities and colleges often conduct background checks, and a restraining order may raise concerns about your character and suitability for admission, while some programs or internships require a clean record, and a restraining order could disqualify you from participating.

In terms of professional licensing, obtaining certain licenses may be challenging with a restraining order on your record. Many licensing boards consider your moral character and may deny or delay your application due to the restraining order. This can affect your ability to work in fields such as healthcare, law, or education, where a license is required.

The impact of a restraining order on your education and licensing opportunities can vary depending on the nature of the order and the specific requirements of the institution or licensing board. Consulting with an attorney who specializes in these matters can provide you with the guidance and support needed to handle any potential challenges you may face.

Effects On Housing Opportunities

Potential landlords and property management companies often conduct background checks on potential tenants, and a restraining order on your record may raise concerns about your behavior and ability to maintain a peaceful living environment. Landlords have a legal obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of other tenants, and they may view a restraining order as a red flag indicating potential risks and conflicts.

Having a restraining order on your record may lead to difficulties in finding suitable housing. Landlords may deny your application or choose other applicants who don’t have such records. Even if you’re able to secure housing, you may face additional challenges, such as higher security deposits or increased scrutiny from neighbors and property management.

Not all landlords automatically reject applicants with restraining orders. Some may consider the circumstances surrounding the order, the length of time since it was issued, and any steps taken to address the situation. It may be helpful to provide additional documentation, such as character references, proof of completion of counseling programs, or court orders demonstrating progress and rehabilitation.

The impact of a restraining order on your housing opportunities will depend on the individual landlord or property management company. You may seek legal advice if you believe your housing rights are being violated.

Long-Term Consequences & Record Expungement Options

A restraining order is a public record, which means it can be accessed by landlords and potential employers during background checks. This could lead to concerns about your credibility and reliability.

To lessen the long-term impacts of a restraining order, record expungement is an avenue that you can look at. Expungement is a legal process that allows individuals to have certain records sealed or erased from public view. In some cases, depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the restraining order, you may be eligible to have the order expunged from your record. This can help improve your chances of obtaining housing and other opportunities.

You can consult with an attorney who specializes in expungement to understand the specific requirements and procedures in your jurisdiction. They can guide you through the process and help you determine if expungement is a viable option for you.


Obtaining a restraining order can have various implications for your record. It may affect future background checks, employment prospects, educational and licensing opportunities, as well as housing opportunities.

It has potential long-term consequences, but there are options for record expungement if necessary. Taking appropriate legal steps and seeking professional advice can help mitigate the impact of a restraining order on your record.