Procedures Applicable to a Defendant in a Protection Case - If a Final Protection Order is Issued

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D. If a Final Protection Order is Issued: The defendant should read any protection order carefully. The order will state specifically all prohibitions or requirements that apply to the defendant. Violation of certain parts of a protective order is a Class D crime, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. In certain cases, a violation may be a Class C felony, or may be contempt of court. If the defendant is ordered to stay away from plaintiff's residence and the defendant goes to the residence, the defendant will be arrested and charged with violating a protection from abuse order. The plaintiff cannot give the defendant permission to violate the order or vary its terms. Only a judge can change the order.

If a final order of protection from abuse prohibits the defendant from possessing firearms or dangerous weapons, the defendant will also be ordered to turn over firearms and prohibited weapons to a law enforcement officer or other person within the time stated in the order (24 hours or less after the temporary order is served on the defendant). If the defendant chooses to turn over the prohibited items to a person other than a law enforcement officer, the defendant must file within 24 hours a statement identifying that person and listing all items turned over to the person. That statement may be filed with either the court or a local law enforcement agency. If the court later finds probable cause to believe the defendant has not turned over all firearms and prohibited weapons, the court can authorize a search warrant and seizure of any prohibited items found.

Note: If the Court enters a Protection from Abuse order that prohibits the defendant from harassing, stalking or threatening the plaintiff, possession of a firearm and/or ammunition by the defendant may be a separate violation of state and federal law, even if the order itself does not prohibit firearm possession.

In addition, a parent's willful misuse of a Protection from Abuse process in order to gain tactical advantage in a divorce or paternity action may be considered by the court in that divorce or paternity action when deciding upon the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.

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