Protective Order Defense
So you have been served by the Sheriff with an Application for Protective Order and, more likely than not, a Temporary Ex Parte Order with a Show Cause order directing the Respondent (You) to show up at Court at a particular date and time– now you are left with several questions. What does this Application/Order mean? What happens if I don’t show up to court or otherwise respond to the Application/Order? How can/should I fight this? While this page does not aim to answer all questions one may have regarding protective order defense, nor could it, it does attempt to answer some of the more basic, general questions surrounding the matter. Because of the sensitive and potentially life-long consequences a Protective Order can have on the Respondent, I feel compelled to provide the following disclaimer:
DISCLAIMER: The Information contained on this page is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to substitute in any way for a thorough evaluation/consultation regarding your case with a licensed attorney. This page is not intended to serve as legal advice. THERE ARE POTENTIALLY SERIOUS AND LIFELONG CONSEQUENCES THAT CAN OCCUR WITH BEING THE RESPONDENT TO AN APPLICATION, EVEN WITH LEGAL COUNSEL ADVOCATING FOR YOU. DISOBEYING A PROTECTIVE ORDER CAN RESULT IN CRIMINAL CHARGES BEING PRESSED AGAINST THE VIOLATOR. Just like any other criminal defense related matters, please obtain the advice of a competent attorney instead of “saving money” and doing it yourself. The few thousand you spend now can help prevent a life of headaches and trouble.
What is a Protective Order (PO)?
One of the common questions individuals have when it comes to POs is what exactly they are. This question usually arises because of confusing a PO with a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), a type of order also frequently obtained from the courts. Essentially, both POs and TROs direct a party to refrain from perpetrating certain acts (i.e. contacting/harassing/assaulting some individual, prohibitions on the sale/use of property, etc.); however, unlike the TRO, POs carry direct criminal penalties if they are violated by the restrained party.
What happens if I just ignore this?
If you have been served with an Application for a PO and you fail to show up to a scheduled hearing or otherwise fail to respond to the suit, a judge might grant the requested relief and issue a final PO. Unlike Temporary Ex Parte POs which by default only last 14 days from issuance, final POs can last up to two years or longer. Do not ignore the Application or think the matter is just going to go away.
What are the Consequences of Having a Active PO Against Me?
One of the most immediate effects is that an active PO prohibits the restrained individual from possessing or using firearms. It will also prohibit the restrained individual from engaging in harassing/assaultive conduct towards the protected person(s), and frequently will prohibit the restrained individual from even being near the protected person(s) or their residences and places of employment. For cohabitating/Married individuals, the PO will also frequently contain a “kick out” order directing the restrained person to depart the shared residence. Violation of the provisions of the PO can result in the restrained person being charged with a Class A misdemeanor or a Felony, depending on the circumstances involved.
That is while the PO is active; however, there are also potential lifelong consequences. Depending on the wording of the PO and the findings of the court issuing it, there can be issues obtaining certain licensing (e.g. nursing, medical), permits, jobs, residential leases… just to name a few.
What Should I Do?
While the end decision is always up to you, one should typically retain a competent attorney to represent them in defending against a PO. An attorney can help you beat the protective order or at least mitigate its long term effects. Call (512) 689-4299 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today!