An order of protection is a court-issued document that protects an individual from harassment, abuse, or other action by another individual. Someone can also issue protection orders on behalf of multiple people, organizations, objects, or entities.
Orders of protection are usually filed due to harassment, violent behavior, domestic or other abuse, or stalking, though these are not the only claims that can lead to an order. Duration and specific requirements vary according to each order, but the intent is to protect the one who filed against a specific individual.
Typically, this means you are not allowed to speak to or otherwise contact or come within a certain distance of the person who filed the protection order. The order of protection may also extend to close friends or family members, meaning you will not be able to contact them either.
How Will An Order of Protection Affect Me?
If someone files an order of protection against you, you must understand the terms of the order. Contact a criminal defense lawyer or other legal representation if you are unsure about specific requirements. You will be penalized for any violations of the order, intentional or not.
Usually, an order of protection means you have to cease contact with and avoid a specific person. You will have to potentially move if you live with or near the person who filed for the order. And if you work with the person who filed the order, you will likely have to find new employment.
There may be other impacts. You may not be able to own a weapon. You will not be able to gain a license for hunting and fishing. Non-citizens may also have their green cards revoked or visa status reviewed.
How Long Does An Order of Protection Last?
An order of protection is valid until it expires, expunged, or otherwise declared invalid. But until that point, you must follow all the rules laid out in the order of protection for the entire duration of the order. Failure to do so will result in severe consequences, such as court charges.
What Recourse Is Available Against An Order of Protection?
There is no middle ground for orders of protection: either you have to follow the guidelines therein or fight to have the order expunged or invalidated. The best way to learn about available legal options is contact a lawyer experienced with orders of protection. They will be able to advise you on what options, if any, are available.
To fight an order of protection, you must prove that the evidence upon which the order was granted is weak or faulty. For example, a way to refute evidence of physical abuse is to provide an alibi and witnesses for the time of the alleged attack. Similarly, you could argue that all of your communications were professional interactions for protection orders based on workplace harassment.
You will need to discuss the details that led to the protection order with your lawyer. Be as thorough as possible and do not leave information out, even if you think it is embarrassing or reflects poorly on you.
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