When you are in a domestic or romantic relationship with a person who threatens, molests, harasses, attacks or batters you or your family, you have a legal right to file for an order of protections against this individual. This individual is committing the crime of Domestic Violence against you, and you can seek relief from this violence through the court system. It is important to understand how the process works before you file a petition for an order of protection.
What Is an Order of Protection?
Also referred to as a restraining order, an order of protection is a court order that is in place to protect the petitioner from someone who is causing harm to them. It can be enacted to prevent further abuse, to prevent the person from contacting you, from harassing you or to prevent them from being in the location where the violence occurred (home, workplace, and apartment). This is considered to be civil order, and this means that it does not give the abuser a criminal record.
Who can File for an Order of Protection?
Any victim of domestic violence can file for a restraining order. A victim is considered to be anyone who has been the subject of domestic violence from a spouse or any other person who still lives in or was in the home. Victims are over the age of 18 or is a legally emancipated minor.
Victims can also be of any age if they have been subjected to domestic violence by any person who says he or she is the mother or father of the child. Victims of any age who are in dating relationships with their abusers are also covered under the law.
Domestic violence is an act that occurs against someone by an adult or a minor who is emancipated. Examples of these acts are:
- False imprisonment
- Criminal mischief
- Criminal trespass
How Can an Order of Protection Help?
If the court decides you are a victim of abuse or domestic violence, the judge will sign an Order of Protection. This order requires that the abuser adheres to the ruling of the court. These orders are generally very specific, and they will clearly lay out what the abuser is allowed to do as well as what they are not permitted to do.
For example, the abuser may be ordered to cease all contact with you, either in person or by phone, through email or social media. This type of order will often extend to everyone who is in the household.
The court may also order that the abuser leaves the shared home or apartment even if the property or lease is in the abuser’s name.
The judge may also require that the abuser receives counseling, or drug and alcohol treatment.
What Is the Length of a Restraining Order?
The first restraining order that is granted by the court is temporary. It is known as a T.R.O. (Temporary Restraining Order). The petitioner and the abuser will have to return to court on the date specified by the order. During the ten-day period of the T.R.O., the Sheriff will deliver a copy of the order to the abuser so he/she will know what date to appear in court.
These are some of the factors to keep in mind when you file an Order of Protection. By knowing this information, you will not only stay safe, but you will also know what to expect during the process. For more information, please contact Harden Law