If you have been charged with domestic violence, assault, or other crimes a court may qualify as posing a threat to another individual, you may find yourself facing a protective order. While you will have to answer to the possible additional charges that may be filed against you, you also need to understand what a protective order is and when it can be issued. A Birmingham criminal lawyer can help you understand more about these orders, but some basic information regarding them can be found below.
What is a protective order?
A protective order is an order from an Alabama court that aims to protect victims of of actual or perceived physical violence, sexual assault, or stalking by another individual. Protective orders, sometimes called temporary restraining orders, can be issued by any state and are enforceable in Alabama regardless of where such an order was issued or what the order is called. In domestic relations cases in Alabama, these are sometimes referred to as a Protection from Abuse Order. They can be obtained by filing a Petition for a Protection From Abuse Order through the circuit court clerk of a victim's local circuit court. A victim filing this request does not need an attorney, but because there can be strong legal consequences for both parties involved – the victim and the person against whom an order is being sought – it is always a good idea for someone that believes filing this request to be in their best interest to consult with an attorney or a domestic violence advocate to ensure that they are filling out the form correctly and that doing so is the proper action for the relief being sought.
What can a protective order do?
In addition to removing contact information for the victim from all paperwork related to the protective order, protective orders may enforce the following:
- Prohibit the defendant from committing acts of abuse against the petitioner;
- Prohibit the defendant from contacting the petitioner in person, via phone, through email, or by means of any other form of communication;
- Prohibit the defendant from coming within a specified distance from the petitioner's home, business, or person;
- Prohibit the defendant from possessing or modifying certain property shared with the petitioner;
- Remove the defendant from a shared residence if the petitioner resides with the defendant; and
- Award temporary custody of children shared between the petitioner and the defendant to the petitioner.
As you can see, there are a number of options the court may consider including in a protective order. The actual terms of the protective order will be based on the circumstances surrounding the request for such an order as well as the shared circumstances of both the petitioner and defendant.
How is a protective order enforced?
Violating a protective order can have severe consequences, which is why is is extremely important that you understand the effect of such orders if one has been assigned by a court against you. If you are under the restraints of a protective order and you violate that order, a law enforcement official can arrest you without the need for a warrant. In some cases, this can also result in probation violations if such circumstances are applicable to you. As with any legal order, you are expected to comply with the conditions of a protective order until it is lifted or otherwise allowed to expire.
What should you do if you are facing a protective order?
If a protective order has been issued against you, you will likely be facing other charges as well. These charges, as well as potential violations of a protective order, can have severe criminal consequences and you will need the assistance of a Birmingham criminal defense attorney that has experience handling these types of charges. If you are facing a protective order and/or related criminal charges, contact Eversole Law to schedule a consultation and find out more information about the charges you are facing and what options are available to you to defend against them.