Victims of domestic violence have several legal options. Order of protection and restraining orders are the most common legal options available to victims.
Orders of Protection
All states have laws that allow orders to protection to be passed to protect victims of domestic violence. Such an order can order the abuser:
- To refrain from telephoning, contacting, striking, attacking or disturbing the victim
- To shift out of the shared home
- To remain at least 100 yards away from the victim as well as the victim’s residence and workplace
- To undergo counseling
- To refrain from buying a gun
These orders may also contain directions for the safety of other members of the household including children.
Restraining Orders are also referred to as Judicial “Ex Parte” Orders. This order asks the abusive cohabitant to temporarily move out of the share premises. This order will be issued only if the victim seeks it. A cohabitant is one who is in a relationship of a sexual nature with the victim and has been living with the victim for at last 90 days before the victim seeks such an order. A victim of domestic violence who is in an imminent danger of harm or has been harmed despite having an order of protection has no option but to request a restraining order. You will generally need the services of an attorney to get a restraining order.
Violation of Orders
Violation of these orders will be treated as contempt of court. Many states have a provision for automatic arrest in case the order is violated. Penalties for violation include jail and fines. It can be a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the state law and the circumstances.