What is the difference between a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and permanent injunction?

The two different types of restraining orders are temporary and preliminary injunction. The difference between a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction is that a temporary order is typically issued in circumstances where immediate action is called for, while a preliminary injunction is issued only after the other side has been given an opportunity to reply and be heard. Use our free legal guide below to learn more.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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A temporary restraining order is typically issued in circumstances where immediate action is called for. Courts often issue “TRO’s” based on affidavits from a person whose interests are about to be harmed. For example, if you people with chainsaws are about to cut down your trees, the court would be in a hurry to act ,sometimes before giving the other side a chance to reply.

A preliminary injunction is usually issued only after the other side has been given an opportunity to reply and be heard, and has either consented to maintain the status quo or not made a sufficient showing to defeat the plaintiff’s claims. A permanent injunction is typically issued after a full trial of the merits, or on the consent or default of the other side.

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