Enforcing An Order Of Protection

If your abuser violates any part of the Order he is in Contempt of Court for failing to obey an Order of the court. Violation of an Order of Protection is a crime and a judge should take this very seriously. If your abuser is not charged with a Violation, you can contact a domestic violence advocate at your local program to assist you in having charges brought against him. A person who violates an Order of Protection can be punished by being sent to jail, paying a fine of several hundred dollars, or both.

If your partner does something to hurt or threaten you, call the police. Once you have an Order of Protection, the police have to make an arrest if they believe the Order has been violated or an offense has been committed. You should show them the Order when they answer your call. If the police do not have enough evidence to make an arrest, you can file a Violation Petition with the court that issued your Order of Protection and/or you can file a new complaint in another court if you are eligible. It's a good idea to write down the names and badge numbers of the officers because you may want to follow up your case later on.

If you get an Order of Protection with a condition that your abuser "stay away" from you and your home, it is important to remember that the police must arrest the abuser if he comes to your home, even if he just wanted to come over to talk. Don't invite your abuser over or let him come near you it there is a "stay away" order. You may end up getting hurt, your abuser may get arrested, and the police or the judge may not take your case seriously. You must, however, obey any custody or visitation order issued by the court.

An Order of Protection can be in effect for up to three years. If you still need protection when it runs out, you can go back to court and ask that your Order be extended, but you will have to show that you are still in danger. It is important to document any incidents during the three years, including threats or minor incidents so that you will be able to remember them when your Order of Protection runs out. At any time that you need help, you can call your local domestic violence program for assistance. You don't have to go through this alone.

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