Over the years, certain societal problems generate enough public awareness that a concentrated legislative and law enforcement focus begins. These ordinarily gain traction and more awareness by campaigns by various non-profit groups that fund such. Drinking and driving is perhaps the most obvious example.
Within certain domestic relationships, there is higher than average violence rate and domestic violence is now a similar topic of similar intense social focus. Indiana passed into law the Indiana Civil Protection Order Act several years ago that has companion state statutes across the United States.
These statutory provisions allow a person who alleges they have been a victim of domestic violence to complete a petition, and if a certain amount of evidence is present, a trial court to grant a protective order against another person without a hearing from the alleged batterer in advance.
In a small number of cases, these protective orders are obtained by individuals without legal basis, and may be the product of mental illness or tactical objective in a divorce case. A protective order can have many unforeseeable consequences for the person it is binding upon. For instance, it may keep persons who work in the same place apart. This means the person with the domestic protective order may not be able to go to work.
Furthermore, any violation of the order and contact may be a basis for violation of the court order and this is a criminal act. The name of the person against whom the protective order is enforced is placed on a national database. This has all sorts of implications, such as prohibiting employment to potential (now or in the future) ability to possess firearms.
For for this reason, if you are a person who receives a protective order that you believe is without legal merit based on the affirmants incorrect representations to the court, you should consider talking with counsel and challenge in court to the protective order. The time line to request a hearing is short and the implications are profound. So be advised that a protective order is something with the potential for life long implications. Act accordingly.
Additionally, for gun owners or those who possess firearms, once a hearing is held on the matter, if you do not prevail and have the protective order removed, you are Brady-disqualified and may not possess firearms or ammunition. It is a felony to do so; this may impact your ability to work, again, if you are a police officer or member of the military and have to access firearms for your profession.
This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. They actively litigate and challenge protective orders across the State of Indiana. This blog post is provided for general informational purposes and is not intended to provide specific legal advice or solicit services.