OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH
So let’s talk about what happens when someone violates or breaks an Order of Protection(OP). If you are fearful of imminent harm or have experienced harm from an abuser, you can petition the Chancery Court or 4th Circuit Court for an Order of Protection, which protects you from contact with the abuser. But what happens if your Order of Protection is granted BUT the abuser continues to contact you. Then the Order of Protection has been violated, and you have options.
WHAT CONSTITUTES VIOLATION
If an abuser violates an OP by making personal contact with you, call the police immediately at 911. Personal Contact means coming around you either to your home or workplace. It is considered personal contact by being close and in person. But it also includes driving by your home, job, or any place where you are.
An Order of Protection is also considered broken if the abuser contacts you in writing through a text message, email, letter, or any form of writing. In this case, you will want to call the authorities to let this be known.
When the police arrive they will verify that an OP exists. In the case of personal contact, the best practice is to have the order in hand so always keep a copy with you. An officer must have reasonable cause to believe the violation has occurred and your description of the incident or what has happened can be used as evidence. Additionally, if the abuser is with you, then you have evidence. In the case of contact through writing, the text, email, or letter can be used as evidence to show a violation of the OP. The officer needs no warrant to arrest the abuser.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF VIOLATION?
The OP violation carries consequences that are varied and include:
- Maximum of $2,500.00 fine and up to 11 months and 29 days in jail as a Class A misdemeanor
- Possible extension of the Order of Protection
- Contempt of Court. Civil penalty, fines or punishments of $50 – $2,500.
It is important to know the best course of action to obtain an Order of Protection and to know your rights if it has been violated. The attorneys at Held Law Firm are happy to help. Call (865) 685-4780 to make an appointment today.