Atlanta Attorney Explains Family Violence Protective Orders

Georgia courts offer family violence protection orders to people who claim to have been the victim of violence or the threat of violence. These kinds of orders can be used to greatly restrict your behavior, and disrupt your life. Knowing the risks associated with having a protection order issued against you is important, and with qualified legal counsel, may be preventable. Keep reading to learn more.

Two types of orders are available – a temporary ex parte order and a standard family violence protective order. An ex parte order is granted without giving you the chance to show up to court and present your side of the story. In fact, you may not even know that an order has been filed for until after the court issues it and notifies you. Ex parte orders are valid only until a hearing can be held, and in any case do not last longer than 30 days. At the hearing you will be given an opportunity to be heard and to oppose the order. If the court rules against you, however, it will issue a standard family violence protective order that can be valid for up to a year. It can later be extended for up to three years if necessary.

A family violence protective order (or an ex parte order) is designed to protect the complainant from conduct such as assault, battery, stalking, vandalism, trespassing, unlawful restraint and any conduct that amounts to a felony. It may be sought by a spouse, ex-spouse, child, parent, roommate, ex-roommate, live-in girlfriend or boyfriend, or the mother or father of your child, among other parties. If the complainant is not at least 18 years old, however, an adult must file on his/her behalf.

Either type of order can prevent you from legally contacting the person who filed the order or retaining custody of your children, from living in your own home, from using your car, from entering or remaining in the vicinity of the complainant or your child, and many other activities. You may be forced to pay temporary alimony or child support payments or attend psychological counseling. You may also have to pay the filer’s legal fees.

Simply ignoring a family violence protective order is not a good idea. Violating its terms, even the terms of an ex parte order, is treated as a serious matter in Georgia. You can be charged with contempt of court even if the complaint later proves to be unfounded, and if convicted you can be imprisoned for up to a year. Under certain circumstances you could be charged with a felony and spend even more time in prison. If your violation is characterized as stalking, you might even face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

A family violence protection order can seriously disrupt your life and put you at the risk of criminal prosecution. If you are the subject of a family violence protection order issued by a Georgia court, or if you have been charged with violating one, call ABT Law Firm, LLC at 1-800-NOJAIL-9 or 1-800-665-2459 for a free consultation. We are available 24/7 and will even visit you in jail.

Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Domestic Violence Charges

There are many circumstances in which a fight in the home will lead to domestic violence charges. Sometimes, a fight between spouses or domestic partners will escalate to the point where one person strikes out in anger or frustration. In other cases, a person may claim to have been injured in a domestic violence event in order to punish his or her partner when no physical contact actually was made. After the emotions have cleared, the person making the claim might regret it and try to retract the statement, but it might be too late.

The issue of whether to file charges for domestic violence remains with the prosecutor, so a change of heart on the person reporting may not be enough to stop a case going forward to conviction. This criminal record will continue to impact a person’s life forever, interfering with career opportunities, housing, and even gun ownership.

Georgia has a number of different criminal acts that fall within the classification of domestic violence, including:

  • Simple assault;
  • Assault;
  • Aggravated assault;
  • Simple battery;
  • Battery;
  • Aggravated battery;
  • Cruelty to children;
  • Criminal damage to property;
  • False imprisonment;
  • Unlawful restraint;
  • Stalking; and
  • Criminal Trespass.

A person may face domestic violence charges after damaging property. In addition, threats also may result in serious charges. Penalties for domestic violence convictions include an initial charge of a misdemeanor, but of a high and aggravated nature, which means more severe penalties, including serving up to a year in jail and a fine of $5,000.00. Additional convictions are felonies, with the potential for a five-year prison term.

There may be a restraining order put in place against a person who has been charged with domestic violence. There must be a hearing within 30 days of the issuance of the protective order and a judge will hear testimony and review evidence about the basis for the order. The court then may grant a Family Violence Protection Order, which remains in place for a one-year period.   However, it is possible for that order to be extended for three years or be converted into a permanent order.

Many people in Georgia do not realize that being the subject of a protective order may limit that person’s ability to own firearms or certain types of ammunition. A violation of this law could lead to up to 10 years in prison.

There are other extremely serious consequences of a domestic violence conviction, including a loss of visitation rights with any children. If there are visitations permitted, they may only take place under specific conditions imposed by the court, which may include supervision or participation in a family violence intervention program. It is very important to get an experienced criminal defense attorney working on your behalf as quickly as possible.

The Abt Law Firm, LLC. Aggressively Fights for its Clients

There are many different circumstances that may lead to a charge of domestic violence, but regardless of what happened, it is critical to have the right attorney battling to protect your rights. It is possible to avoid jail time and to get the charges completely dismissed, especially with the right lawyer.             The Atlanta Criminal Defense Firm of the Abt Law Firm, LLC. knows how to investigate the evidence and the procedures of a domestic violence case in order to get the best results possible for our clients. If you do not want a criminal record, call us immediately at 1 (800) NO JAIL 9 or 1 (800) 665-2459 and we can help. We offer free consultations and are ready to come to you in jail.