The most pressing effects of a protective order are the restraints it places on the respondent’s actions. A respondent of a protective order may no longer be allowed to enter a certain residence, contact a certain person, or engage in specific actions.
Protective orders cannot be ignored. If someone ignores or violates a protective order, they could be held in contempt and face criminal charges. Therefore, Understanding the impact of a DC protective order on a respondent’s life may be crucial to avoiding any violation and subsequent criminal charges.
When a protective order is issued, many conditions come with it. The protective order may prevent someone from going to specific premises. In a domestic violence case, for example, a respondent may be barred from entering a petitioner’s place of residence.
In some instances where both parties had been cohabitating, the respondent may be forced out of the residence. In other cases, instead of requiring the respondent to stay away, the protective order may require that the respondent does not harass, assault, threaten, or stalk the petitioner (also known as “no HATS”). This allows the respondent to stay in the same home or residence, but places stringent requirements on their behavior.
The conditions of a protective order may require that the respondent to a protective order physically stay away from the petitioner and avoid any contact with them. The judge can impose a stay-away if the facts of the case warrant that action.
The courts in Washington DC broadly interpret the term “contact,” which is spelled out in the protective orders. For example, the protective order may include “No direct or indirect contact” as a condition, meaning there can be no phone calls, emails, or contact between the petitioner and the respondent, even through a third person. There may also be a mandatory physical distance that a respondent would need to stay away from the petitioner.
Permissible contact is identified in the protective order and is dependent upon what the petitioner agrees to. As an example, if the petitioner and the respondent are married and have a child, the protective order may require that the respondent not directly or indirectly contact the petitioner except for the days when childcare arrangements must be made.
If you are a named respondent in a protective order, you may be facing a serious change in your way of living. A protective order could affect your place of residence, your ability to see your children or loved ones, and could even prohibit your ability to legally possess a firearm.
An experienced attorney could work with a judge and the petitioner’s attorneys to lessen the impact of a DC protective order on your life. While a judge may deem a protective order necessary, there may be room to alter certain conditions and allow you to maintain certain privileges. If you are a respondent, contact a lawyer today for help.
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