What is a Temporary Protective Order?
Under no circumstances does any individual deserve to be stalked or abused, whether physically or mentally, by someone in their own household. A Temporary Protective Order (“TPO”) can protect you and your loved ones from stalking and family violence. Under the law, a victim can obtain a written order, known as a TPO, from the Court which may require the abuser to cease their actions, and/or to cease direct and indirect contact with you and your family. If the TPO is violated, the abuser can face serious consequences such as being arrested, and possibly jail time and/or fines or penalties. A TPO usually lasts anywhere from one to three years; however, it is possible to acquire a permanent one under certain situations and circumstances.
What can I get a Temporary Protective Order for?
Temporary Protective Orders may be issued for “Stalking” or “Family Violence”
Stalking occurs when an individual follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another, without consent, and for the purpose of harassment or intimidation.
Family Violence includes any acts considered as a felony, battery, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, or criminal trespass that occurs between past or present spouses, parents of the same child, a parent and child, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household.
What if someone is seeking a TPO against me?
As with all cases, there can be false allegations made when a person pursues a TPO. Having a TPO issued against you can have a serious effect on your rights. Every time a TPO is issued, it is made a part of the Georgia Protective Order Registry. This registry may be accessed in Georgia through the Georgia Crime Information Center, but also nationwide. A background search could reveal such orders, and could have an effect on anything from job placement to gun ownership.
How can having a lawyer help?
Having the assistance of a lawyer when pursuing or defending a Temporary Restraining Order is essential. An experienced attorney can spot legal issues within your case that may affect the outcome. Being able to recognize such issues can aid in resolving your case in your favor.
Isn’t a Temporary Restraining Order the same thing?
No. A Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) is much different than a TPO. A TRO acts as a short term, pre-trial injunction. To get a TRO, a party must show the Court there would be immediate and irreparable harm in relation to a pending case that would occur if the Order was not issued. There are times where people have sought a TRO instead of a TPO. Being able to recognize the difference in these types of cases is another reason having the aid of an attorney could assist you in your case.
Can a TPO affect my Divorce or Custody case?
Yes. A TPO can have a significant impact on a Divorce or Custody action. It can affect the rights of both the victim and the abuser. In order to know how your rights may be affected, it is best to consult an attorney if you become involved in a stalking or domestic violence case and are in the process, or thinking about starting the process, of a divorce or custody action. Every case and every situation is different, so it takes a skilled professional reviewing the specific facts of your case in order to help you sort through these complicated issues.