After a domestic violence instance or allegations of abuse, the victim can seek safety by having a protection order issued against the alleged abuser. This protection order is a court-issued document that would require certain things from the alleged abuser, such as prohibiting contact with the victim.
A protection order can have a serious impact on a person. However, if someone is seeking a protection order against you, there will be a hearing process in which you side of the story can he heard. Lawyers are not appointed in protection from abuse cases, but you have the right to an attorney. Skilled legal counsel can help you fight these proposed restrictions.
Huntsville Protection Order Hearings Attorney
If someone has petitioned for a protection order against you, contact a domestic violence defense lawyer at Law Offices Of Segal & Segal. Our attorneys understand the sensitivity of your situation, and we will work to help you through the protection order hearing process. Your future is important, and we can help you avoid these costly restrictions.
The experienced Huntsville protection order hearing lawyers at Law Offices Of Segal & Segal are passionate about defending your freedom. They can help you make the best choices for your future and your family. Call (256) 533-4529 to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients throughout the Huntsville-Decatur area, including Madison, Morgan, Marshall, Limestone and Jackson County.
Information About Protective Orders
- What is a Protection Order?
- Reasons a Court May Grant a Protective Order
- Protection Order Hearing Process
- Common Injunctions in a Protection Order
What is a Protection Order?
In Alabama, a protection order, sometimes referred to as a restraining order, is a court order issued under the Protection from Abuse Act which provides limited protection for people who have been threatened, harassed or physically abused. It can be sought after allegations of family violence.
Protection orders in Alabama can be issued against:
- A victim's spouse
- A former spouse
- Common-law or former common-law spouse
- Person with whom the victim has or had a dating relationship
- Person with whom the victim has a child
- A present or former household member
In these cases, a dating relationship means a frequent, intimate or romantic association. It usually is characterized by the expectation of affectionate or sexual involvement. This does not include a casual or business relationship.
Additionally, a household member is defined as a person maintaining or having maintained a living arrangement with the defendant where he or she is in, or was engaged in, a romantic or sexual relationship. This could include a couple who has not been married and does not share children.
After allegations of abuse, a victim could seek a temporary protection order, or Ex Parte Order. This order is not permanent and will be used only until a hearing is held to determine if a permanent order is necessary. Typically, after the judge signs a temporary protection order a court hearing is scheduled.
If the judge denies a person's request for an emergency or temporary protection from abuse order, the victim still may be able to ask the judge to consider a petition for a permanent protection order through the full court hearing process.
Reasons a Court May Grant a Protective Order
There are a variety of reasons in which a court could find a final protection order necessary. For instance, a person does not have to commit an actual act of domestic violence against another for a court to find the order necessary. In some cases, a mere threat is enough for a judge to grant the order.
Some instances in which a protection order could be issued include:
- A history of threat or abuse
- Threat to harm or kidnap children
- Rape, sodomy or other sexual assault
- Reckless endangerment
- Child abuse or child neglect
- Unlawful imprisonment
- Criminal trespass
- Harming or killing of a family pet
- Destruction of petitioner's property
Protection Order Hearing Process
If a person petitions for a permanent protection order, both parties are notified of the hearing date. Once the date is scheduled, the victim must attend that hearing. If he or she does not appear, the temporary order may expire and the process likely would start over.
However, if the alleged abuser does not appear, the judge could either grant the final order or reschedule the hearing. If the judge schedules a new hearing date and there was an emergency or temporary protection order against the alleged abuser, the order could be extended until the new hearing date.
At the hearing, each side has the right to present evidence and witnesses to tell his or her side of the story. This means the alleged abuser and his or her attorney can bring forth evidence as to why the order is not necessary. The order can have serious repercussions on a person's life. Attending the hearing is critical in keeping your freedom.
After the hearing, the judge will decide whether to issue a final protection order. If it is issued, it may contain any or all of the restrictions in the temporary order. Additionally, more injunctions could be added. The order also will indicate how long it is in effect, which can range from 60 days to indefinitely.
Common Injunctions in a Protection Order
Injunctions in a protection order can vary based on the particular situation of each case. If the protection order against you is made final after the hearing, some of the injunctions could order:
- Specific child visitation for the defendant, which may include supervised visitation in the presence of a third party or withholding visitation completely
- The defendant to pay the plaintiff's attorney's fees and court costs
- The defendant to pay child support for the children
- The defendant to provide temporary support for the victim and grant the victim possession of the residence or household, which does not mean ownership
There are some situations in which the defendant, or the alleged abuser, could be required to provide the victim with the temporary use of a vehicle. If the victim has no other means of transportation and the defendant has control of more than one vehicle or alternate means of transportation, he or she could be forced to assist the victim.
Violating a protection order could lead to criminal charges. According to Ala. Code § 30-5A-4, a person can be arrested for violating any provision listed in a protective order that has been formally served. A first violation is a Class A misdemeanor, which could mean up to one year in jail, a $6,000 fine or both.
Finding the Best Madison County Protection Order Lawyer
If you are on the other end of a protection order, it is important to understand you also have rights. An experienced Huntsville protection order hearing defense attorney at Law Offices Of Segal & Segal can represent you throughout the process and prevent evidence to help clear your name. If criminal charges follow, we also can help you combat the charges. Call (256) 533-4529 to schedule a free consultation.