What Should I Know About Protective Orders and Peace Orders?
You’ve been involved in a domestic incident. The police were called, and you are now going to be served with a protective or peace order. What do you do now? First, know exactly what you are dealing with.
Although they are very similar, protection orders and peace orders vary slightly. Protective orders are usually issued when the petitioner, the person who files the complaint, has allegedly been assaulted, raped, stalked or fears bodily harm. They are usually orders against spouses, ex-spouses, relations, or people that the petitioner has children with.
A peace order on the other hand can be filed against anyone that a protective order does not cover. This includes co-workers, casual boyfriends or girlfriends, or others. It also covers trespassing and malicious destruction of property.
To get a protective or peace order, the petitioner fills out the proper forms and goes before a judge on an ex parte basis. This means that she or he will go in front of a judge without you and tell the court their version of what happened. The judge will then usually issue a temporary order for seven days. A hearing will be set at the end of the seven days.
Get counsel as soon as possible. Contact a criminal attorney to determine your next steps. By this time, the Sheriff will, most likely, have already served you the order. Since federal law requires it in a domestic situation, any firearms you may own will be confiscated and held by the Sheriff’s Office.
Don’t try and fight this and don’t try to hide from the individual trying to serve you with the order. That will not make things any better. If the Sheriff can’t find you to serve you within seven days, the order could be extended for another six months. If you are in jail, you will be served by the Department of Corrections and Public Safety.
Both of these orders restrict you to have any type of contact with the petitioner and their relatives. In some cases, it can restrict contact with your children and order you out of your own home. Any type of contact at all is forbidden, even contact through another person. This means no direct contact, phone calls, text messages, driving by their home, or even posting on social networking sites such as Facebook.
Trying to contact a person that has a protection or peace order against you can, and probably will, result in separate criminal charges. There is no sense in making a bad situation worse. Peace and protective orders are meant to be a cooling off period. Making sure that there is absolutely no contact is extremely important.
Don’t think that it’s alright to reply to any contact attempts made by the petitioner either. If she or he tries to contact you, note the time and date, and save any written communication such as text messages, emails, and the like. Most importantly, though, do not respond. Call your criminal attorney if any type of contact is attempted by the petitioner.