An order of protection, also known as “Protection Order” or “Restraining Order” is a court order issued under the Protection from Abuse Act (PFA), which provides protection for people who allege threats, harassment, or physical abuse. Unfortunately, false accusations, complicated romantic relationships, and divorce leveraging tactics can result in unfounded claims and the issuance of a protection order against innocent defendants.
The consequences of a Protection Order can be severe. Failing to fight back could affect your personal life, professional life, and negatively impact your future rights, including custody. Our Birmingham domestic violence defense attorney is experienced in handling complex domestic violence disputes and can apply sound legal counsel and aggressive advocacy to protect your rights.
The purpose of a protective order is to prevent injury or to stop continuing threats, harassment or physical harm done by an alleged abuser. In most cases, protective orders are issued against spouses or partners and can involve complex relationships between petitioners and defendants. It has been the case that some petitioners seek out a protective order to gain leverage during a divorce or they themselves are participants in an abusive relationships. While the laws are set to protect victims in genuine abusive relationships, some allegations are made with ulterior motives. When facing a protective order, you want an advocate who can uncover the facts in your case and protect your rights throughout the legal process.
Protective orders can be damaging in a number of ways. One of the biggest issues for defendants is that the order will become part of the public record. These Alabama state court system records are available to the public and can even be accessible with a simple web search. This means that a protective order could appear on any employer background check or even by friends and family. You could face the lifetime label of being “an abuser” without a fair defense. Under the Violence Against Women Act, individuals who have domestic violence protective orders are unable to possess a firearm or ammunition. If the protective order goes into effect, you will likely lose your rights to possess a gun.
Even if a temporary restraining order was issued against you, you have the right to fight back and you still have the opportunity to succeed in court. A protective order is issued by the state of Alabama and any protective order issued out of state will also be enforceable in the state of Alabama.
After a petition is filed against the alleged abuser, a judge must decide whether to issue a temporary Protection Order, also known as the “Ex Parte Order.” This order can be issued without notice to a defendant. The temporary Protection Order is served to the valid address of the defendant and indicates the terms of the restraining order. The defendant may be restricted from going to the petitioner’s home, being near children, school, or day care, and it could impact a custody case. Alleged victims could be given temporary custody of minor children and the order could be used to keep the alleged abuser from having any rights to visitation.
Whether you have been served order or you suspect that a restraining order may be filed against you, it is never too early or too late to consult with an advocate who can protect your rights. Remember that your immediate rights and long-term interests may be at stake.