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What are protection orders and what happens if one is violated?

When there are alleged incidents of domestic violence between two people, the next step may involve some form of protective order. If you are facing domestic violence charges, it is important to know what a protection order is and how it can affect you. Generally, these orders allow the alleged victim to call the police if the other party breaks the order.

There are two main types of protective orders. One is the emergency protection order. When a police officer is called to handle a domestic violence incident, he may require the alleged abuser to leave the scene. However, they can be mistaken as to who the abuser actually is. In some states, the alleged victim may be given an Emergency Protection Order, which will be in effect for a three to seven day period. The victim then has time to request a longer-term protective order.

A protection order typically lasts for one to five years, and can be renewed if the victim still feels threatened. The terms of the protection order will vary, depending on the circumstances. Common provisions include no contact orders and stay away provisions. If the parties have children together, a peaceful contact provision may be available to allow limited communication between the parties to handle care of the child. A counselor provision may be implemented to require the alleged abuser to seek counseling. A valid protection order can be enforced in the state where it is issued as well as all other states.

If a protective order is violated, the violation can be treated as a felony, misdemeanor or contempt of court. Typically, felony charges only occur for repeat offenses or serious violations. In any case, the violator of the order will likely be arrested automatically.

Source: FindLaw, "Domestic Violence: Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders," accessed on Dec. 8, 2015

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