Kevin Madison, a 61-year-old Louisville man, has been arrested for allegedly setting fire to his ex-girlfriend’s home while she and four others were inside. According to reports, the woman had just secured an emergency protective order the day before the incident. Madison’s record seems to indicate that he has a history of ignoring these court orders.

Despite being ordered to stay away from the woman and her family, Madison approached the home and started fires outside of both exits. He was taken into custody and will face charges for arson and violating a protective order.

Criminal Charges, Penalties Can Depend on Your Criminal Record

When you’re arrested for a crime in Kentucky, the state has some discretion in choosing which criminal charges you’ll face. If you’re convicted, a judge also has discretion in imposing a sentence. Many factors can influence charges and penalties.

There are mitigating factors, which are things that would warrant less serious charges or penalties. For example, let’s say you’re arrested for a crime that could be a misdemeanor or a felony. If you have no record of criminal history, the state may opt to charge you with the less-serious misdemeanor offense. The fact that you don’t have a criminal record could be a mitigating factor.

There are also aggravating factors, which are things that might cause prosecutors to seek harsher charges or penalties. Having a criminal record is one aggravating factor. When Madison is prosecuted for arson and violating a protective order, the court will consider his record of criminal history. Before this most recent arrest, Madison had a long history of run-ins with the law.

He’s been convicted of assault, spousal abuse, stalking, and violating a protective order on more than one occasion. He’s also been convicted of DUI four times. Prosecutors will probably seek harsher penalties since he shows a history of ignoring the law.

What Happens When You Violate a Protective Order?

In Kentucky, a judge will issue an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) if there is evidence of domestic violence. A petitioner (the alleged victim) must be able to show that they’ve been physically or sexually abused, or threatened with physical or sexual violence. Once an EPO is issued (and served), you’re legally required to comply with the terms. This means that you might be prohibited from:

  • Contacting or visiting the petitioner
  • Contacting the petitioner’s family or children
  • Going to your own home, if it is shared with the petitioner
  • Disposing or damaging property, and
  • Engaging in other acts of violence.

A judge can tailor the terms of an Emergency Protective Order to fit a specific situation. However, the bottom line is that you must do whatever the judge says in the order. This is true even if you’ve been granted a hearing to defend yourself and contest the temporary order. Ignoring or violating an EPO is a crime that can have some pretty harsh consequences.

When you intentionally and knowingly violate an Emergency Protective Order, you can face charges for contempt of court. This is typically a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by between 90 days and 12 months in jail. You can also be required to complete probation and pay up to $500 in fines.

Madison has a history of criminal convictions, as well as several previous convictions for violating protective orders. As a result, prosecutors may seek the maximum penalties for this latest offense.