Do You Need a Protection Order?
It can be easy to confuse restraining orders with protection orders, but if you need personal protection from a stalker or an abuser in the State of Tennessee, contact a – immediately – to help you obtain a court-issued protection order.
In Tennessee, “restraining” orders are used for business reasons in civil cases, but a protection order is a court order that is issued for someone’s personal safety and protection. Who qualifies to obtain a protection order in Tennessee? How do Orders of Protection work?
And when should you contact a to help you obtain an Order of Protection? If you will keep reading this brief discussion of protection orders and your rights under the law in Tennessee, you will find the answers you may need.
What Are “Ex Parte” Protection Orders?
A protection order is issued by a Tennessee court when a purported victim presents the court with evidence of stalking or domestic abuse. A protection order requires the accused person to remain a certain distance away from the alleged victim and to refrain from contacting the alleged victim.
If there is “good cause,” an ex parte protection order is issued by the court upon receiving a petitioner’s request. Good cause can include a petitioner’s injuries and fear of future harm as well as the accused person’s criminal record and history of drug or alcohol abuse, violence, or mental illness.
After a Tennessee court has issued an ex parte Order of Protection, a hearing will be conducted within fifteen days to determine whether the court will dissolve the ex parte Order of Protection or issue a “temporary” protection order.
How Do You Obtain a “Temporary” Order Of Protection?
To prevail at an Order of Protection hearing, especially if a petitioner has no physical evidence of stalking or domestic abuse, it helps if the petitioner can identify witnesses who observed or overheard an incident of stalking or domestic abuse and who will offer statements or testimony.
At the protection order hearing, the alleged stalker or abuser has the right to be represented by a defense attorney, the right to challenge the protection order, and the right to ask the court to dissolve the protection order.
If the alleged stalker or abuser fails to appear for the hearing, the temporary Order of Protection is granted automatically. If a preponderance of the evidence proves an alleged stalker or abuser has stalked or abused the victim, the court will issue an Order of Protection for up to a year.
That temporary Order of Protection may be extended for as long as five years if it is violated or for up to ten years for multiple violations. Violating an Order of Protection is a Class A misdemeanor in Tennessee, and a conviction could send the offender to jail for as long as a year.
Who May Obtain a Protection Order?
Under the law in Tennessee, domestic abuse victims and victims of stalking are qualified to receive an Order of Protection. The law defines domestic abuse victims as:
- persons who are former or current spouses
- persons who live together or have resided together in the past
- persons who have dated, are dating, or have had a sexual relationship
- persons related by adoption, blood, or (now or previously) by marriage
A domestic abuse victim’s minor or adult child who has been threatened with or subjected to domestic abuse also meets the legal definition of a domestic abuse victim in this state.
How Does Tennessee Define Stalking?
Stalking victims also qualify in Tennessee to receive an Order of Protection. However, no particular relationship between an alleged stalker and an alleged victim has to exist in order for an alleged victim to obtain from the court an Order of Protection against an alleged stalker.
In Tennessee, stalking is defined as continuing or repeated harassment that would cause a reasonable person to feel harassed, intimidated, threatened, terrorized, or molested, and that in fact causes a victim to feel harassed, intimidated, threatened, terrorized, or molested.
What Does a Protection Order Provide?
Under federal law, when a state court issues a protection order against a stalker or an abuser, that person loses his or her right to buy, possess, or use a firearm for the term of the protection order, and any firearms that person owns must be surrendered.
If a petitioner claims that a protection order has been violated, the police can make an arrest with no evidence other than the petitioner’s claim.
It is not that difficult to obtain an ex parte protection order in Tennessee, but obtaining a temporary protection order is a bit more difficult. You have to prove that you need the protection order. Ask a Kingston protection order attorney to provide the advice and services you will need.
Don’t Fabricate or Exaggerate
If you need a protection order in Tennessee, it is important to tell the truth. Judges, divorce lawyers, criminal defense attorneys, and police officers in this state have to deal far too frequently with fabricated or exaggerated claims of domestic violence.
If you fabricate or exaggerate a claim against a stalker or an abuser, that person’s attorney will seek to disprove your claim, and your petition for an Order of Protection could be denied.
Consult with a Kingston protection order lawyer before you appear at an Order of Protection hearing, and have that attorney accompany and represent you. Your attorney will explain what it takes to prevail at that hearing and to obtain the protection order you need.
How Should You Choose a Protection Order Attorney?
When you are the victim of stalking or domestic violence, you need an advocate: someone who will address your legal concerns, fight for justice, and help you obtain the legal protection you need.
Davis Law Firm represents clients in and near the Kingston area and throughout Tennessee. We handle all areas of family law including divorce, alimony, child custody, child support, and domestic abuse. We will help you obtain protection against domestic violence.
Call the offices of Davis Law Firm at 865-354-3333. An attorney will provide an evaluation of your case and recommend the best way for you to move forward. If you proceed with legal action, an attorney at Davis Law Firm will fight aggressively and effectively on your behalf.