Peace and protective orders are designed to protect individuals from abuse. These are civil orders that are issued by a judge in which one person, the respondent, is ordered not to commit certain acts against another, the petitioner. Whether a petitioner entitled to a peace or protective order depends on the nature of your relationship to the respondent.
A petitioner files a petition for a protective order where the petitioner is the current or former spouse of the respondent, where the petitioner and respondent have had a sexual relationship and resided in the same home for a period of 90 days within the year prior to filing, where the petitioner and respondent are related by blood, marriage or adoption, where the petitioner is the parent,stepparent, child or stepchild of the respondent and they are living together or have lived together for 90 days within the year prior to filing or where the petitioner and respondent have one or more children together. In all other cases, the petitioner would file a petition for a peace order.
In order to obtain a protective order, the petitioner has to prove in court, by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent has committed an act that caused the petitioner serious bodily harm, has committed an act that placed the respondent in fear of serious bodily harm, has committed an assault, has committed or attempted a rape or sexual offense, has falsely imprisoned the respondent,stalked the respondent, committed criminal harassment, trespassing, or malicious destruction of property. The petitioner must prove his or her case by clear and convincing evidence.
Both peace orders and protective orders can be applied for at the courthouse by filing out a form that is provided by the clerk’s office. Although the application process is simple and straightforward, it is wise to retain an experienced attorney for the actual hearing. A final protective order can last for as long as one year, and can be extended thereafter in six month increments up to a total of two years. A peace order can last for six months and can be extended thereafter for an additional six months.
In a peace order, the court can order the respondent to stop threatening or committing abuse, to stay away from the petitioner’s home, place of employment or school,and to have no contact with the petitioner or others. In a protective order, the court can award temporary use and possession of the home, can award temporary custody of children, can award financial support, and require the respondent to surrender firearms during the pendency of the order to law enforcement, and can award possession of pets.
A petition for a peace order may only be filed in the District Court. A petition for a protective order can be filed in either the District Court or the Circuit Court. If the clerk’s office is closed, the petitioner can go to the District Court commissioner to file for an immediate order. Petitions for a peace order must be filed within 30 days from the act giving rise to the relief requested. Protective orders can be filed at anytime. A violation of a peace or protective order is a crime. Violations can result in contempt of court or the imposition of criminal charges which can include jail time.
If you are involved in a peace or protective order case, whether you are the petitioner or the respondent, having an attorney can be very helpful to your case. An attorney can focus on the important elements of your case and explain what the judge will be looking for at the hearing.
If a peace or protective order is filed against you, it can leave a permanent trail of negative information about you that is available to potential employers and others. In some circumstances, steps can be taken to remove the court record of a case against you. This is done by filing a Petition to Shield. It is similar in nature to an expungement in a criminal matter.
An attorney can help you present your case in the most effective manner to obtain the best result for you. The attorney’sat Baldwin & Briscoe have years of experience handling peace orders and protective orders. We would be happy to discuss your specific case with you
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