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Domestic Violence: Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders

At A.L. Harvey Law we are aware that on average in the United States almost twenty people per minute are physically abused by a partner. This equates to more than 10 million women and men in a year that are victims of domestic violence, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It is important to note that domestic violence is illegal in all states and there are legal actions and steps one can take to protect themselves from abuse.

What Constitutes Abuse

Abuse is considered physically hurting someone, whether intentional or reckless, by ways of hitting, pushing, kicking, pulling hair and/ or throwing objects. Physical abuse also includes sexual abuse and assault. When someone is afraid that he/ she is in danger of being seriously hurt, harassed, stalked or threatened then abuse and domestic violence is occurring. Abuse can be shown in many forms and often a combination of it is used by the abuser to prove power and control over the victim.

Qualification of Domestic Violence

To qualify as domestic violence, abuse or threats of  abuse would have to take place between people of a close or intimate relationship. This would include the following: a couple intimately involved, related by blood, related by marriage, registered domestic partners, divorced, separated, currently dating, used to date, currently living together, used to live together, parents together of a child, siblings, grandparents, as well as in-laws.

Restraining Orders

A restraining order is a court order that can protect an individual from being physically abused, sexually abused, threatened, stalked or harassed. The restraining order can also include a move out order.  The person who receives the restraining order is known as the protected person. The individual the restraining order is against is known as the restrained person. Sometimes, restraining orders include other protected persons like family or household members of the protected person and even pets.

Orders of Protection: Emergency Protection Order, Protection Order, Criminal Protective Order

  • An emergency protective order (EPO) is a short-term protection order typically given to a victim by law enforcement when his/ her abuser is arrested for domestic violence or accused of domestic violence. It is an immediate order and only valid for up to seven days, which allows time for the victim to go to court and file for a temporary restraining order against his/ her abuser. An EPO can only be asked for by law enforcement personnel who would call a judge to issue and EPO. EPOs can be issued by a judge at any time during the day or night. For example, police can give the victim an EPO when responding to a domestic violence call and there are clear signs of abuse.

  • A protection order differs from an EPO because it has a longer term, typically for one to five years. A victim can renew the protection order or restraining order if he or she is still threatened by the abuser.

  • A criminal protective order takes places when the district attorney files criminal charges against the abuser due to a domestic violence incident. This launches a criminal court case and often times a protective order is grant against the abuser or defendant. This type of protective order is valid while the court case takes place, in addition to the following three years after the case ends, as long as the defendant pleads or is found guilty of domestic violence.

Violation of Restraining and Protection Orders

If an abuser was to violate the restraining or protection order against him/ her, that individual will face either a felony, misdemeanor or contempt of court. Typically, when there are repeat or serious violations then the abuser will be charged a felony. When an individual breaks the order, he/ she will be arrested by police for this violation automatically.

Steps to Take to File a Request for a Restraining Order 
  1. Fill out the appropriate forms and prepare to file

  2. File your court forms with the court

  3. “Serve” your papers on the restrained person/ your abuser

  4. Get ready and go to your court hearing

  5. After the court hearing, follow all restrictions and laws

For more information about these steps to take and to download the forms to fill out, click here.

These steps can be overwhelming and there is a specific process that must be followed to be successfully granted a restraining or protective order. The compassionate and dedicated attorneys at A.L. Harvey Law are experienced to help and advise you on this matter.f you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone who is, contact your local Domestic Violence Shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at either 1-800-799-7233 or TDD 1-800-787-3224. However, if you are in danger at this moment and need immediate help,"call 911."

If you would like more information regarding the legal actions you can take to protect yourself from domestic violence, including restraining orders and protection orders, please don’t hesitate to contact our office today here or at (530) 217-3520.


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