Find a Protective Order
These orders are called by different terms in different jurisdictions. Some call them restraining orders. Others refer to them as no contact orders. In any event, the protective orders are orders made by a state court that instruct someone not to harm another. If the person violates this order, he or she may face substantial legal consequences.
What Protective Orders Guard Against
Protective orders are requested in cases involving domestic violence. A protective order may be issued when domestic violence occurs. This can include physical violence such as hitting, punching, kicking or slapping. It may also protect someone when sexual assault has occurred. Other conduct that may justify a protective order includes restraining the victim, falsely imprisoning someone, stalking or harassment.
Requirements for a Protective Order
In order for a victim of domestic violence to receive a protective order, he or she must establish an imminent threat of danger. Additionally, there must be some relationship specified under state law that justifies a domestic violence protective order. State law may define the necessary relationship as being one between current or former romantic partners, family members, individuals currently or formerly living in the same residence or co-parents of a child.
Factors Courts Consider
When determining whether there is an imminent threat of harm to justify the issuance of a protective order, the court considers a number of factors. One important factor is the history between the alleged abuser and victim and any previous history of violence, stalking, harassment or threats. Another factor that may be considered is whether the alleged abuser has a previous history of harming the victim’s family, friends or others close to him or her. Other history of violence or threatened violence can be considered such as threats to kidnap the victim’s children, violence against a family pet, threats regarding the use of a weapon or other protective orders that were issued against the alleged abuser even if the victim was someone else. The court may also consider any other criminal record and whether the alleged abuser has stopped the victim from ever calling to notify the police of the abuse. The court may consider other factors that it believes are important in determining whether there is a current need for this legal order.
Individuals who are victims of domestic violence may choose to consult with a lawyer to learn about ways that they can protect themselves. Protective orders can be much needed mandates to protect the life and safety of the victim and his or her family. They can play a critical role in family law cases.
Individuals who believe that they have been falsely accused and receive notice that a protective order is being sought against them may choose to contact a criminal defense lawyer. He or she can refute the allegations made against the defendant and challenge any proof used against him or her to protect the individual’s rights.
Functions of a Protective Order
A protective order serves a variety of functions. Its most basic mandate is for the named abuser to stay away from the victim’s place of residence and place of employment. It prohibits any type of direct contact from the alleged abuser, such as in-person contact, phone calls, mail, email, social media contact or other immediate forms of contact. It can also prohibit contact through a third party.
Additionally, the protective order can address domestic issues. If the parties share a home, the protective order can instruct the alleged abuser to vacate it. He or she may have an escort who assists him or her remove their belongings from the home. If the victim and the alleged abuser have children together, there may be temporary provisions regarding the children, such as an order for child support, a prohibition of visitation between the alleged abuser and the children or an order that any visits be supervised. The order may also order spousal support.
If the protective order is made permanent, it may include additional safeguards and instructions, such as banning the alleged abuser from having a firearm or ammunition in his or her possession. If the alleged abuser violates any order contained within the legal mandates, he or she may face additional civil or criminal penalties, up to and including jail time.