What is a protective order?
It is a civil order from a judge. Its purpose is to provide an extra level of protection to people who have been abused, harrassed, or stalked. It accomplishes this by creating a criminal penalty for a violation of the order. Normally protective orders state that the defendant may not contact the petitioner either in person, by text, phone, or social media;
Who Can Get a Protective Order?
In most cases, the petitioner must either be a family member, in a relationship, or had been in a relationship. There is an exception for people that are none of the above, but a police report must have been filed giving evidence of harassment or stalking.
What Happens If the Abuser Violates the Protective Order?
The violation of a protective order may result in the respondent’s arrest for violation of the protective order. The first time is a misdemeanor and further abuses of the protective order are punishable by a felony. This means jail, or possible prison time for anyone who ignores a protective order.
How are protective orders abused?
Far too many times, husbands or wives will use protective orders to cause their spouse problems and potentially give them an advantage in a divorce, paternity, or child custody case. Over and over again, unscrupulous attorneys and devious clients file protective orders on allegations that are completely false. Worse they insight and entrap the other party into arguments and possibly fights just so they can use this tool.
The unintended consequences are not trivial. First, the more this tool is falsely used for manipulation of family cases, the more it becomes watered down for people who really needs it. Second, real violence can occur when someone pushes another person too far. Intentionally prodding and pushing someone into an argument or a fight to gain an unfair advantage in a family case can be like pouring gasoline on a fire. Finally, to often children are added to protective orders to manipulate child custody disputes.
How do you protect yourself?
First of all, don’t fall for it. Keep your cool and just walk away. If there are false claims, hire an attorney that specializes in protective orders, who can help uncover the truth and has no fear when it comes to putting on a hearing and cross examining the petitioner. A good litigation attorney can shine a light on the lies and uncover the truth.
Author: Ciera N. Freeman
Boeheim Freeman Law - 918-884-7791