Domestic violence is a silent epidemic that affects millions of people on a daily basis. For this reason, many people may not be aware of the actions they can take if they find themselves in this unfortunate situation. Since October is the nationally recognized month that sheds a light on this subject, we wanted to explain the steps a person can take if they are the victim of domestic violence and are looking for help.
A protective order is a legal order created by a judge to protect the victim of a crime. It bans the alleged aggressor from contacting, hurting, or threatening the victim.
To receive a protective order, a victim must prove the alleged aggressor:
- injured them;
- made them feel afraid;
- attempted to get them to not testify;
- or threatened to do any of the above.
A protective order can be issued after the alleged aggressor is arrested, charged, or found guilty of crimes against the victim. If the District Attorney decides to not file any charges against the alleged aggressor, there are a few other types of protective order the victim can file.
With the help of a domestic violence attorney, a victim can request a(n):
- Emergency Protective Order:
An emergency protective order (EPO) is the only order that needs to be filed by a law enforcement official. It can be issued 24 hours a day and is valid the moment a judge issues it. A judge will only grant an EPO if:
- there is a sufficient reason to believe there is a present danger of violence;
- a child is in danger of abuse or abduction;
- an elder or dependent adult is in immediate danger;
- the EPO will prevent domestic violence, child abuse, or elder abuse from reoccurring.
The EPO lasts 1 week, and if the abuser lives in the house the judge will order them to leave for the duration of the order. The purpose of an EPO is to protect the abused while they seek a more permanent restraining order.
- Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
A TRO is issued when a judge believes a victim is in immediate danger and needs protection before their official court case. It lasts between 20 to 25 days. At the end of the period, a judge will decide whether to issue a permanent restraining order or not.
- Permanent Restraining Order (PRO)
Before a PRO can be issued, there must be a court hearing. If the judge determines the victim is truly in danger from the alleged aggressor, they can issue a PRO. A PRO is not truly permanent; its duration varies depending on the situation. A PRO generally lasts between 3 to 5 years.
We Can Help You Find a Swift Resolution
You and your family deserve to live in a home free of fear. Our compassionate attorneys will do everything we can to ensure the safety of you and your family.