How Family Violence Protective Orders Work in Georgia
Any person who claims to have been a victim of domestic violence may file a petition for a protective order in the Superior Court of Georgia. That person may also file a petition for a protective order on behalf of an underage child. In the petition, the petitioner must allege he or she (or the minor child) was a victim of family violence.
In response to this petition, the court may issue a temporary protective order ex parte, which means the person against whom the petitioner seeks the order (the respondent) will not be notified. In doing so, the judge determines the petitioner or child was at one point a victim of family violence and could be again if left in the presence of the alleged abuser.
There must be a hearing on the petition within 30 days of its issuance unless both parties agree on a later date. The court might also issue a protective order with stipulations that prohibit the respondent from harassing the victim in any way or committing further acts of violence. Other common stipulations include vacation of premises orders, child support and custody arrangements, and mandated psychiatric or psychological services.
What happens if you violate a family violence protective order?
If you violate any aspect of a family violence protective order, you may be held in contempt of court and could be subject to additional criminal charges. Common penalties for protective order violations include up to a year in prison, a $1,000 fine or both.
Considering all that is at stake, it’s critical that you consult with an attorney if you have been accused of domestic violence. Legal counsel will evaluate your case and the various defense options available to you. An attorney will also help you control your actions to avoid damaging your case or your credibility.
For further guidance when you’re accused of domestic violence, speak with a knowledgeable Georgia criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Melvin S. Nash. Contact us online or call the firm at 770.422.0878.