Relationships are complicated in almost any case, but they are especially challenging when domestic violence is an issue. While many believe that anyone who has been abusive toward a significant other should be barred from the alleged victim's presence, there are a number of factors that make this a challenge at times.
How an Order of Protection Works
When one person bars an abusive person from their presence, the process starts with an Ex Parte Temporary Protection Order. This is a temporary court order that is granted in an emergency situation when a person feels in immediate danger and lasts for up to 14 days until a hearing can be scheduled and it can be determined whether a more long term order of protection is necessary and the exact terms of the order.
The court order keeps both people from having contact with one another or committing acts of domestic violence. The abusing party is not allowed into the alleged victims household, or domestic violence shelter where they may be residing. If there are minor children to consider, the order may also indicate visitation rules for the children. If the abusing party owns firearms or other dangerous weapons, these must be surrendered to law enforcement if there is probable cause that of violence or threatened violence.
Any violation of the order should be reported immediately. The abusing party may be arrested, even if they are there under invitation of the person who has issued the order in the first place. If harassment happens over the phone, the abuser should be told to stop calling, and the call should be disconnected. If the calls continue, the phone may be tapped using a tracer.
If a violation happens that is considered to be abusive the accused is charged with a misdemeanor as well as contempt of court. Not following other parts of the order, including failing to pay child support, can result in contempt of court charges, which may include fines and/or jail time.
Who Can Issue an Order of Protection
Domestic violence is differentiated from other types of violence by looking at the relationship between the accused and the victim. The following people may request an order of protection
- A spouse or former spouse
- A person who is in a dating relationship with the accused
- A person who has a child in common with the accused
- A family member including a parent, child or those related by marriage
- A person who resides with the accused, or who has lived with them in the past
- Someone with a relationship that a judge approves to be worth considering for a protection order
Ending an Order of Protection
If an order of protection is put into place, it is important that it be followed as written and complied with by both the person who has asked for it, and the person it is directed toward. An order of protection starts with the court, and it needs to end in court or because the terms of the order have been satisfied. If a person simply invites a person who is currently barred back into their home, it is less likely the abuse will be taken seriously, either with the current transgression or any future one. If forgiveness is to happen, the order first needs to be officially lifted by the court in order to prevent legal consequences.
If your domestic violence arrest has resulted in a temporary order of protection, it is important to work closely with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who can help you navigate the defense process.