Full Faith and Credit Clause for Protection Orders

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What Is a Protection or Restriction Order?

A protection order is a court order or injunction that is issued for the purpose of preventing violent, threatening, harassing acts to another person or contact or communication with this person. Some other names for a protection order are restraining order, harassment order, injunction for protection, etc.

What Ensures that my Protection Order is Enforceable Anywhere in the U.S?

The full faith and credit provision in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994, was enacted so that a valid protection order can be enforced anywhere in the country. This provision ensures that all protection orders issued in any state, tribal area or territory are enforceable anywhere in the country. This legal principle requires judges to recognize and enforce valid decrees and judgments from other state's courts.

What Was the Situation before the Full Faith and Credit Clause?

Before the federal full faith and credit clause it was difficult to get law enforcements, courts and prosecutors to help outside of the issuing state. It was difficult for people with a protection order to cross state lines to visit family and friends, work, shop or permanently relocate.

What Does a Temporary, Emergency or Ex Parte Order mean?

These orders are also entitled to full faith and credit if the order meets certain requirements. These orders are emergency orders for a short time before a hearing must be held and they are issued at the request of the victim without notice to the abuser. They are valid in other states for the same time as they are valid in the issuing state. For the order to be enforceable by arrest, the abuser has to have been served with it or received notice of its existence.

What Can Happen to my Abuser?

There are several federal laws in addition to the full faith and credit law that may apply to your domestic violence situation. For an abuser, a violation of these laws may result in federal criminal prosecution and punishment. If an abuser travels across state or tribal lands to commit domestic violence acts or to violate a protection order, these laws make that illegal. It may also illegal under these laws to commit interstate stalking or to possess a firearm or ammunition while under subject to protection orders.

Where is the Crime Charged if a Violation Occurs? 

If a violation occurs prosecutors should charge the crime and courts should hear the case according to the laws where the violation occurred.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

The legal process in getting a protection order and what to do if you relocate can be confusing and difficult. A lawyer experienced in domestic violence can assist you and help you to be safe.

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Last Modified: 11-26-2013 04:31 PM PST

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