Being served with a Protective Order can be hurtful and confusing. Violating a Protective Order, either intentionally or unintentionally can lead to criminal charges. Depending on the relief sought by the Petitioner, the person who filed the protective order, you may only have 30 days to request a hearing on the Protective Order. It is very important you seek legal representation if you have been served with a Protective Order.
A Protective Order can be filed if the Petitioner alleges the following:
(He/She) is or has been the victim of domestic or family violence
(He/She) is or has been the victim of a sex offense
(He/She) is or has been the victim of stalking
Even if the allegations are unfounded, a court can issue an Ex Parte Protective Order. Ex Parte means the court can issue the order with NO hearing.
Before a hearing for a Protective Order takes place, the court may issue the following relief for the Petitioner:
- Prohibit the Respondent from committing or threatening to commit acts of domestic or family violence, stalking or sex offense against the Petitioner and any household members
- Prohibit the Respondent from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting, or communicating directly or indirectly with the Petitioner
- Order the Respondent to stay away from the Petitioner’s residence, school, workplace, or another location frequented by the Petitioner or household member
You may immediately be evicted from your home and ordered to give up possession of certain household items, including your vehicle, before a hearing. If you are served with a Protective Order and fail to request a hearing, all of the previously listed actions may be taken against you. It is highly important you contact an attorney to represent your rights. You could face criminal charges if you violate the Protective Order – even if the Petitioner is the one contacting you.
The Protective Order Court may issue further rulings after a hearing, whether or not you appear. After a hearing, in addition to all relief mentioned above, the Court may issue the following additional relief for the Petitioner:
- Specify the arrangements for parenting time for minor children
- Require parenting time to be supervised
- Deny parenting time
- Order payment of attorney’s fees
- Order payment of rent
- Order mortgage payments
- Order child support for minor children
- Order spousal support/maintenance
- Order reimbursement of expenses related to domestic or family violence, stalking, or sex offense
- Prohibit the use or possession of a firearm, ammunition or deadly weapon
- Order the surrender of a firearm
The Petitioner must only show that the alleged event happened by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning more probable than not. If you have been served with a Protective Order, you face losing visitation with your child, losing your right to bear arms, being evicted from your own home while having to pay for someone else to live in it, and being prohibited from having contact with your family members. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you are represented by an attorney who will fight for you.