What is an Order of Protection?
A Petition for Order of Protection is a civil (not criminal) case in which the the alleged victim (Petitioner) is suing the alleged perpetrator (Respondent) and claiming he or she needs immediate protection due to domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual assault. There must be a family or domestic relationship between the two, with the exception of a sexual assault allegation. The Petitioner has the burden to prove the allegations occurred. At the time the Petition is filed, if good cause is shown the Petitioner can be granted a temporary order of protection, which immediately goes into effect.
If successful after hearing, an Order of Protection will be issued for up to one (1) year and the Respondent will be required to have no communication, either directly or indirectly, with the Petitioner.
In addition to no-contact, the Respondent will be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms during the restriction period, may be forced to vacate the Petitioner’s residence if the two live together, and possibly pay for spousal support, child support, and attorneys fees.
Proof from the proceedings can be used against either party in further court matters, including divorce and criminal cases. Having an Order of Protection against you has serious consequences that could affect your job, child custody, and other matters. It is important to have an experienced attorney represent you during these proceedings.