Restraining Orders and Protective Orders in Georgia
Whether you have a stalker or need to protect yourself and your children, restraining orders or protective orders are a legal and formal way of telling others to “stay away.” While a piece of paper does not ultimately stop someone from hurting another, police have the right to arrest the person immediately for violating an order. Every state has their form of restraining and protective orders. It is essential to know the laws of your state on the differences between the orders and how to obtain one.
If you are in a threatening situation, the Office of Lawson and Georgia is here to help. Or if you have received a restraining order and believe that it was in error or is a misunderstanding, contact our office. We have extensive experience in criminal law and are here to help you today.
Difference between Restraining Orders and Protective Orders in Georgia
A restraining order is an order that requires parties to a lawsuit not to do certain things or to do certain things. When the person is not a family member, generally just a restraining order is sufficient. However, when the person is in your family, you should file a family violence protective order. Restraining orders can be requested without the other party being aware one is being sought. If the restraining order is granted, the party against whom the order is against will be able to ask for a hearing to explain their side of the story. Some situations where you could request a restraining order include:
- Physical: With violent acts against your or your children, a restraining order can prohibit your spouse from communication with you.
- Financial: If someone in your family is preventing you from accessing your finances or withholding money from you, the court could issue a restraining order.
- Psychological: A restraining order could be obtained when psychological abuse is hindering you from doing your job or daily life.
- Patent: If someone infringes upon your patent or trademark, you have the right to request a restraining order.
A protection order differs from a restraining order in many ways, but the most significant difference is that protective orders have a longer duration. Protective orders can include children, other family members, roommates, or romantic partners of the victim. Some orders can last one to five years while others may be for a lifetime. Once a protective order expires, the victim can renew the order if they still feel threatened or that it is needed to protect them. Protective orders can include conditions such as
- no contact
- Staying a certain distance away from the victim, their home, job, car, or school. The length is generally defined in yards such as 100 or 300 yards.
- Ordering the abuser to attend counseling
A violation of a protective order can be treated as a felony, misdemeanor, or contempt of court.
How To Obtain a Restraining or Protective Order in Georgia
To obtain either order, you must file the required documents within your county. The order will be temporary until a hearing can be held. At the hearing, the judge will decide if the restraining order should continue or be removed. You should bring any and all evidence you have to go the hearing to demonstrate that a restraining or protective order is required in order to protect you. To obtain a temporary restraining order, you must show that you will suffer immediate irreparable harm unless the order is issued. Or in cases of domestic violence, a temporary protective order will be put in place to protect you from stalking or physical harm. However, evidence must first be presented convincing the judge that you are in danger and need protection.
O.C.G.A. §19-13-3 contains the guidelines for protective orders:
(b) Upon the filing of a verified petition in which the petitioner alleges with specific facts that probable cause exists to establish that family violence has occurred in the past and may occur in the future, the court may order such temporary relief ex parte as it deems necessary to protect the petitioner or a minor of the household from violence.
(c) Within ten days of the filing of the petition under this article or as soon as practical thereafter, but in no case later than 30 days after the filing of the petition, a hearing shall be held at which the petitioner must prove the allegations of the petition by a preponderance of the evidence as in other civil cases.
Emergency Protective Orders in Georgia
There is also a type of protective order called an emergency protective order. This is utilized in situations where there has been domestic violence, and one of the parties is requested to leave the home. An emergency protective order is a short-term protection order limited to a week at most. During that time, the victim can request a longer-term protective order.
There are instances where restraining orders or protective orders are taken out against someone who is being falsely accused. If you have received a restraining order, temporary restraining order, or protective order, our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys can assist you. Contact us today and receive a free case evaluation.