Domestic Abuse / Protection Orders

With Domestic Abuse Cases on the Rise, Survivors can seek for protection

It’s an unfortunate reality that the number of domestic abuse cases is on the rise. Fortunately, domestic violence survivors have several civil and criminal protection systems available to them, including protection orders to help protect themselves from further abuse.

Types of Protection Orders

While a protection order will not physically stop an abuser from stalking or potentially hurting the victim, it does permit the victim to have law enforcement intervene if the protection order is violated.

It’s also worth noting that there are different types of orders that might be called into play. The one that is best for your particular situation will depend on the details of the domestic abuse and threatening behavior. This includes:

  • Domestic Abuse Protection Order. This is for people who have been in close relationships (relatives, spouses or former spouses, people who have lived or are living together, etc). It is granted because someone attempted, threatened, caused bodily injury, or intimidated the other person by credible threat, or engaged in sexual contact or sexual penetration without consent.
  • Harassment Protection Order. It does not depend upon relationships, but requires a number of telephone or personal contacts that seriously terrify, threaten, or intimidate the victim and serve no legitimate purpose.
  • Sexual Assault Protection Order. It does not depend upon relationships and is granted because someone subjected or attempted to subject the other person to sexual contact or sexual penetration without consent.

To understand the one that is best for your situation, we will need to take a closer look at the different types of orders and the details that make each one different. This includes things like the intervention of law enforcement, the risk for repeat offenses, and domestic violence.

Protection Orders

It’s an unfortunate reality that the number of domestic abuse cases is on the rise. Fortunately, domestic violence survivors have several civil and criminal protection systems available to them, including restraining orders to help protect themselves from further abuse.

Common Provisions In Protection Orders

No Contact

This provision specifically prohibits the abuser from calling, texting, emailing, stalking, attacking, hitting, or disturbing the victim’s daily activities.

A Move Out Provision

This is more common in a case of domestic violence, where the abuser is required to vacate a previously shared residence.

A Peaceful Contact Provision

This is a provision that makes allowance for the abuser to peacefully communicate with the victim for limited reasons. This involves things like the care of a child or the transfer for visitation of their shared dependent. This provision is not meant to provide the abuser with the opportunity to communicate on other matters or to attempt reconciliation with the victim.

Firearms Provision

This provision requiring the abuser to surrender any guns or other weapons that they possess. It might also include specific provisions that prevent them from purchasing a firearm or registered weapon in the future. 

Stay Away Provision

This provision essentially orders the abuser to limit their proximity to a specific distance. Just how far they must limit themselves can vary based on the judge’s ruling and other details in the domestic abuse case. It’s typically limited to around 100 yards or more from the victim’s home, place of employment, school, or vehicle.

Protection Orders & Child Visitation / Child Custody

Some protection orders will also include a provision regarding child visitation and child custody. These orders are typically temporary and can later be modified as part of a divorce settlement or a family court ruling.

Protection Orders versus Restraining Orders

Many people confuse restraining order and protection order or believe they are one in the same. While both are used to protect people, these orders are very different in how they are ordered and enforced.

Protection Orders

As discussed herein, a party who feels unsafe can fill out a request for a protection order that will be reviewed by a judge and either granted or denied. If granted, the other party can request a hearing. This matter is a separate filing and has its own docket number. Violation of a protection order is a criminal act and law enforcement can arrest you upon a violation of its terms.

Restraining Orders

A party can request a restraining order be issued by the court in conjunction with other legal matters such as a divorce or other lawsuit. Restraining order can include ordering parties not to harass the other party, disturb their peace or disparage the other party. Violations of a restraining order can include being held in contempt of court but do not automatically trigger action by law enforcement.

What Happens If A Protection Order Is Violated?

There are three different ways that the courts can treat a violation of an existing protection order.

  • Charged As A Felony – This is reserved for a serious offense or a repeat offender, and often involves a case of domestic violence.
  • Charged As A Misdemeanor – This is usually a case where a provision is violated and the victim is asking the court to enforce the protection order. Especially if there is the risk or threat of domestic violence. Multiple misdemeanors can also lead to felony charges as a repeat offender.
  • Contempt Of Court – This is more often the case with minor violations of a provision, such as failure to abide by child visitation provisions.

When To Get Professional Legal Help For A Protection Order

In some cases, law enforcement can assess a temporary emergency protection order. Though most protection orders need the help of a trained legal professional. If you are in a situation that is imminently dangerous for yourself or your children, you need to contact law enforcement right away.

If you have been considering a domestic violence rprotection order, it is best to consult with an attorney who specializes in domestic violence cases who can answer all questions. They can expedite the filing of all the necessary paperwork as well as represent you in court.

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