If you have had a restraining, or protective order, also known as an Order of Protection, issued against you, you may have some questions about what that exactly involves and how that will impact your life.
What Is a Protective Order?
A protective order is filed in civil court and is meant to protect individuals who have experienced, or have reasonable fear of experiencing domestic violence, such as physical or sexual violence; or individuals who have been stalked.
On the order itself, it will clearly state the terms of the order, the amount of distance that you must stay away from the petitioner (i.e., the person who filed the protective order), as well as any penalties for violating the order. You will be given a copy of the order as well.
Who Can File a Protective Order?
Petitioners are victims of domestic violence, are at least 18 years old, and have the following kind of relationships with their abusers:
- Household member (past or present)
- Having a child in common
What Crimes Are Victims Protected from Under a Protective Order?
According to the Protection from Abuse Act, which protects domestic violence victims from their abusers. Here is a list of crimes (from Ala. Code §30-5-2(1) (2010)) that are listed under the definition of domestic violence:
- Actual or attempted assault
- Sexual abuse
- Unlawful imprisonment
- Criminal coercion
- Reckless endangerment
- Child abuse
- Arson between family/ household members
- Anything else that can be punished as crime toward protected class.
Specifically, a protective order means that you are ordered to legally stay away from the individual who filed it. This can be in domestic violence situations, such as with spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, or relatives. This can be complicated, depending on the person who filed it and your relationship with him or her.
If you have been charged with a domestic abuse crime, you may have this protective order filed as part of your sentencing. It may also happen during a civil trial. The judge may also issue a protective order as part of a ruling in the favor of the plaintiff.
Penalties for Violating a Protective Order
If you violate a protective order, in the state of Alabama, that is considered a Class A misdemeanor. For the first offense, individuals will be charged a fine of $2,000 and may also serve up to one year in jail.
Violating a protective order a second time means that you will face even greater penalties, specifically a month in jail. If the protective order is violated a third time, then you will spend 120 days (4 months) in prison.
In addition to the jail or prison time, you will be required to pay for at least one-third of your incarceration costs for each day you are imprisoned. The judge who is presiding over the case will be the one determining how much you will need to pay.
What to Do if You Have Been Charged with the Protective Order Violation
When you have been charged with violating a protective order, it’s imperative that you reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands restraining orders and the Protection from Abuse Act.
Attorney Jason Darley will look over all the evidence in your case and explore all the options that are available, such as a sentence reduction in exchange for seeking counseling. He can also advise you on how not to continue to violate this order, so you can prevent accruing more penalties and prison time.
Have you been charged with a protective order violation? Not sure what to do next? Darley Law, LLC is an experienced law firm that can take on your case and help you make a better path forward. Contact Darley Law today for a free consultation and learn how we can help you: 251-441-7772.