The state takes allegations of domestic violence or sexual abuse very seriously. Protective orders – also known as restraining orders – are used to protect alleged victims while claims of abuse are investigated. It’s important to understand that your life can change dramatically when a protective order is filed against you. The order will limit your rights and privileges. Violating that restraining order can have serious consequences.
It’s important to speak with an attorney and seek legal advice if someone has taken out a protective order against you. You need to fully understand your rights and obligations. One wrong step – even mistakenly – could have severe consequences. Call an experienced Louisville restraining order attorney at Suhre & Associates to learn more.
Are There Different Types of Protective Orders?
Yes. There are two reasons a court may decide to issue a protective order. The first involves allegations of domestic violence, while the second involves allegations of sexual assault or stalking between non-family members. Protective orders can be temporary or permanent.
Emergency Protective Orders & Domestic Violence Orders
Domestic violence and abuse occur when one family member is harmed or threatened by another family member. Family members can include spouses (current and former), children, parents, grandparents, and even non-married couples.
When a family member accuses you of domestic abuse, they can call law enforcement to intervene and ask a court in Jefferson County, Kentucky to issue an Emergency Protective Order (EPO). The family member who asks for the restraining order is known as the “petitioner.”
An EPO is a temporary protective order that can prevent you from contacting, visiting, or going near the petitioner and their family. A court will issue an EPO if the petitioner can prove that domestic violence has occurred and is likely to happen again in the future. The burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. So, the petitioner only has to prove that their allegations are more likely to be true than not.
Once an EPO is issued, you must be served with a copy of the order. You also automatically have the right to have a hearing scheduled within 14 days. This hearing is your opportunity to defend yourself and offer evidence, arguments, and testimony to support your side of the story. A judge will be trying to figure out if the allegations against you are true.
If a judge believes the petitioner, they can issue a Domestic Violence Order (DVO). This is essentially a permanent EPO.
Interpersonal Protective Orders (Temporary and Permanent)
Restraining orders can also be issued if you’ve been accused of sexual assault or stalking. These are known as Interpersonal Protective Orders (IPOs). They can be granted regardless of your relationship with the petitioner. A Temporary Interpersonal Protective Order (TIPO) is essentially the same as an EPO. An IPO has the same effect as a DVO.
What Happens When Someone Gets a Protective Order Against Me?
A protective order is issued when there are legitimate concerns about the safety of a petitioner and/or their family. When you’re served with an EPO or DVO, you may be prohibited from:
- Contacting the petitioner and/or their children
- Visiting the petitioner at their home, place of work, or school
- Staying in your own home
- Having custody of your children, and
- Committing any further acts of abuse or harm.
A judge can order you to maintain a certain distance from the petitioner, cut off all contact, pay child support, and seek counseling. If a DVO is issued, you may also forfeit the right to own or possess a gun.
What Should I Do If Someone Gets a Protective Order Against Me?
Courts don’t usually need much persuading to grant a petition for a restraining order. The more serious inquiry into the need for the protective order occurs during your formal hearing. It’s important to keep the following things in mind if a court has granted a restraining order against you.
- Follow all of the terms of the protective order without question
- Do not attempt to contact the petitioner or any witnesses
- Do not destroy or hide any information that might be considered evidence
- Never threaten the petitioner or any witnesses
- Contact a criminal defense attorney in Louisville for immediate assistance
It’s essential for you to understand that violating a protective order will make it more difficult for you to defend yourself and clear your name. Always obey the terms of a restraining order and seek legal advice from an attorney. Your lawyer will help you navigate the legal process and defend against the protective order.
How Long Does a Protective Order Last?
Temporary protective orders (EPOs and TIPOs) are only good for 14 days at a time. Petitioners must renew temporary protective orders every two weeks to keep them in place.
Permanent protective orders (DVOs and IPOs) can be imposed for a maximum of three years. Petitioners do have the right to ask a court to renew the order before it expires. However, a court must hold a new hearing before extending a DVO or IPO.
What Happens If I Violate a Protective Order?
A protective order is a lawful court order. You can face serious criminal charges and penalties for violating an order’s terms or conditions. Violating a restraining order can also have some non-criminal collateral consequences.
Possible penalties might include:
- Transitioning an EPO to a full-fledged DVO
- Charged with contempt of court, a Class A misdemeanor
- Up to 12 months in jail
- $500 in fines
- Court-ordered GPS monitoring (you’d also be responsible for related monitoring costs)
- Mandatory probation and court-ordered counseling
- Parole or probation revocation, if applicable, and
- Court-ordered changes to your child custody or visitation agreements.
You’ll make things more difficult for yourself if you violate your protective order. Contact an attorney and let them handle this delicate situation on your behalf.
Call Our Louisville Restraining Order Defense Attorney For Help
Has someone accused you of domestic violence or sexual assault and asked a court for a restraining order? You need to understand your rights and legal options. Our lawyers in Louisville can help you defend yourself against the allegations and fight to get rid of the EPO. We know how much a protective order can interfere in your life and will do everything we can to have it dismissed.
Call our law office today to schedule a free initial consultation. We’ll review your case and address any questions you may have. Make sure that you call us before you do anything that might be considered a violation of the protective order. A wrong move could make things much more complicated.