A “Protection Order” or “Protective Order” is used to protect a person from harmful, dangerous, or offensive behavior by another person. The court commonly issues them for persons seeking protection from a spouse or family member (for instance, if there is an instance of domestic violence involved in a divorce case).
In addition to preventing the defendant from contacting or communicating with the protected party, protection orders can also prevent them from coming within a certain distance. Most protection orders are issued during a court hearing but can sometimes be requested without a court appearance.
This is the case with certain protection orders, such as emergency protective orders, which can be obtained without that much legal processing. If a protection order is violated, serious legal consequences can result.
Is a Protective Order the Same Thing as a Restraining Order?
The terms “Restraining Order” and “Protective Order” are often used interchangeably. In some jurisdictions, the two terms have very different meanings. In some states, restraining orders only apply to formal proceedings, whereas protective orders are used in many more situations. As a result, restraining orders are sometimes used only between spouses, whereas protection orders are often enforced between anyone and anyone.
In some areas, like Ohio, police aren’t always required to enforce a restraining order, but they are always required to enforce protective orders. In some areas, restraining orders can only be enforced by the person and their attorney, but protective orders can be enforced by law enforcement.
Last but not least, protective orders usually cover more aspects than restraining orders. In addition to communication and contact restraints, a civil protective order might address the following factors:
- Eviction orders (for example, if an abusive family member won’t leave the home even when ordered to do so)
- Temporary child custody arrangements
- Temporary spousal support arrangements
- Mandatory counseling classes for one or both parties
Enforcing a Protection Order
To ensure your safety and the enforcement of your protection order, follow these steps:
- Review your protection order: Ensure it contains the basic elements for effective enforcement.
- Get written proof that the order was served on your abuser: This you can get from the court that issued it or the law enforcement that served it.
- Get certified copies of your protection order: You should carry at least one copy with you at all times. Your school, employer, friends, relatives, and any law enforcement agency that may need to enforce your protection order should also receive certified copies.
- Find out what procedures you have to follow: Procedures in different states may vary to get a protection order enforced. Some people in the court system might not be aware of the federal full faith and credit law that obliges them to enforce your order, even if it’s an out-of-state one. It might be good to remind them if necessary.
- Keep track of and report all of the abuser’s violations: Violations include phone calls and messages sent through other people. Even if you are the only person who witnesses the violation of the order, you should record it and report it. Law enforcement can protect you better if they have a record.
- There are pros and cons to filing and registering your order in other jurisdictions: The pros are that registering it can help the police verify your order’s existence and may increase the likelihood it’s enforced. Even though federal law prohibits court personnel or the police from notifying abusers of their registration, it sometimes happens. Remind them that it’s prohibited. When a protection order is a public record, your abuser can easily locate you through these records, which is dangerous for you.
How Long Do Protective Orders Last?
The duration of protective orders may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the original purpose of the order. Protective orders are typically valid for up to one year, with the possibility of extension. In some states, a protective order may be enforced for up to three years, but only for ninety days in others.
As previously mentioned, protective orders are generally temporary and only last until a further court hearing is held to determine whether to grant a preliminary injunction. The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to prevent an action while a case is pending.
At a preliminary injunction hearing, both sides will have the opportunity to speak, and the court will enter an order preventing the parties from taking actions that affect the status quo.
Alternatively, a temporary restraining order may be issued if there is a lack of time. Once both sides have been heard, temporary restraining orders may be lifted.
After the protective order has expired, the victim may be able to file for a permanent injunction if protection is still needed. A permanent injunction prohibits a party from performing the specified action indefinitely and is usually granted by a court following a trial. An injunction extension will typically require proof that the victim would continue to suffer physical harm from the defendant if the injunction was not granted.
How Are Protective Orders Obtained? What If a Protective Order is Violated?
Victims must first and immediately report any relevant incidents to a local authority to obtain protective or temporary restraining orders. Police usually generate these reports.
Next, the victim may request that the court issue an order protecting them from further harm.
Generally, the order will be issued after the victim appears in court and explains why an order is needed. It is most likely that the court will issue an order on the same day as the court appearance if an order is indeed necessary.
The court may also schedule an Order to Show Cause hearing so that both parties can explain why a more permanent order should be issued or not. Protective orders are typically granted when a criminal trial is filed for domestic violence. Preliminary hearings may be held prior to or at the beginning of the trial to determine whether the victim is in immediate danger. If a judge determines that immediate protection is necessary, they can grant a protective order before a trial is completed.
A violation of a protective order is generally classified as a separate crime. As a result, violating the order and causing harm will be considered two separate crimes. This could result in criminal penalties for the violator, such as fines and jail time. Violations of protective orders can result in a $1,000 fine or up to one year in jail. The violation of a protective order does not require proof of physical harm or violence.
A protective order prohibits the offender from contacting the victim in any way. It may be considered a violation of the protective order if the offender attempts to contact the victim.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
You must be safe and protected at all times. Domestic abuse and violence are very serious issues that should not be taken lightly by anyone, including legal authorities. Therefore, if you need a protective order, you should immediately contact a criminal attorney.
The legal process of obtaining a protection order and what to do if you relocate can be confusing and difficult. You can be assisted and kept safe by a criminal lawyer.