An Order of Protection is a civil action but it can have criminal repercussions if violated. Orders of Protection can be issued between those persons who have lived together, had sex, are related, had dated or other such close relationship. Orders of Protection can be issued when there is a real or immediate threat of harm to the complainant’s person or property.
Typical examples justifying the issuance of an Order of Protection are threats to burn the complainant’s car, threats of physical violence – especially when there is a history of domestic violence, actual physical violence, and threats against the complainant’s children and or pets.
Orders of Protection may be issued in one of two ways. First, the complainant (the Petitioner), completes a form requesting an Order of Protection and submits it under oath to the magistrate. If the magistrate finds probable cause, an ex parte Temporary Order of Protection is issued. This temporary order lasts usually for no more than fifteen days. The order becomes effective when the other party (the Respondent) is notified of the order by the Sheriff’s Office. During this time, the Respondent must not contact the Petitioner either directly or indirectly through others and must stay away from the Petitioner. If the parties were sharing a home, the Respondent may contact the police department to arrange for a time to collect her or his personal belongings from the home. A formal hearing is scheduled and both parties may attend to present their side of what occurred between the parties. A judge then decides to extend the Order of Protection or to dismiss it.
If at any time while the Order of Protection is in effect and is violated by the Respondent, the Respondent is subject to immediate arrest.
An Order of Protection may also be issued when both parties appear before a judge or magistrate. For non-married parties, this starts at the General Sessions Court level. This is typically to establish whether by preponderance of the evidence the Petitioner can prove that the Respondent has done something that would merit the issuance of the Order of Protection.
If you believe you need an Order of Protection, please do not hesitate to act. Your safety is paramount.
The Rushton Law Firm, PLLC offers both Orders of Protection prosecution and defense services. Please contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you in prosecuting an Order of Protection or defending yourself from a wrongfully issued Order of Protection.
To view an Order of Protection application, please click this link.