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A Protective Order is designed to protect a person from abuse. A court will issue a Protective Order to tell an abuser what they can or cannot do for specified things. If the abuser fails to follow a Protective Order, law enforcement has the right to immediately arrest them and take legal actions.

A person can obtain an order of protection for themselves, or their children, in either the District or Circuit Courts. To be eligible for a Protective Order, there must be a familial or sexual relationship. 


The Court can order:

  • No Contact: the abuser is not allowed to contact the victim at all (including in-person, phone calls, texting, emails, and letters)

  • Peaceful Contact: the abuser can only contact the victim when discussing specified topics (e.g. making decisions about their children)

  • Stay Away: the abuser is not allowed to come within a specified distance of the victim

  • Move Out: the abuser must move out of the home

  • No Firearms: the abuser must surrender all firearms to law enforcement for the duration of the order

  • Counseling: the abuser must go to counseling for the duration of the order

Abuse is defined as several actions, including:

  • An act that causes serious bodily harm (e.g. hitting, choking, shooting, shoving, or biting)

  • An act that places someone in fear of imminent serious bodily harm (including threats)

  • Assault, rape, or sexual assault

  • Mental injury to a child or minor

  • Stalking

To be eligible for a Protective Order, the person filing it must fall into one of these categories:

  • Spouse of the abuser (current or former)

  • Shares a child with the abuser (whether or not you were ever married)

  • Lives with the abuser and has a sexual relationship or has lived together for at least 90 days

  • Related to the abuser (including through marriage or adoption)

  • Has had a sexual relationship with the abuser (within the last year)


If you are not eligible for a Protective Order, you still may be eligible for a Peace Order. Acts that allow you to get a Peace Order may include abuse, harassment, stalking, trespass, or malicious destruction of property, misuse of telephone or electronic communication, and revenge porn. You must file for a Peace Order within 30 days of the act occurring and Peace Orders are in effect for six (6) months, with the option to extend it for an additional six (6) months.


Whether you are filing for or defending against an Order, it is important to have proper representation by your side. These hearings can have implications beyond just the Order of Protection. These matters often have overlap into criminal or Child Protective Service matters, your divorce/custody case, or even impact your employment.  

If a Protective or Peace Order case has been dismissed, you may be eligible to shield the case and records from a public search. We can assist clients with filing the proper paperwork to accomplish this goal. 

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