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How to Get an Order of Protection

An order of protection is a potent legal shield when you have reason to fear some imminent or potential harm directed against you or your children. It's a relatively simple order, and it can be granted both during or independently of some broader legal matter.


Richards and Colburn Law has helped many clients throughout Nashville and nearby counties physically protect themselves with the calculated use of a pen. If you've been threatened with harm, read on to learn when an order of protection applies, how to get one, and what to do if you've been subject to one.


What Is an Order of Protection?

An order of protection (aka. protection order) is a court order requiring one party to keep away from and cease contact with another. Most often, they involve some relationship, whether familial or a past romance, and sometimes even involve former roommate situations. Orders of protection can also apply when there's no relationship, such as for stalkers or other strangers who've shown some intention of harassing you or your family.


Should I Get Legal Services for an Order of Protection?

There are two scenarios when legal services are advisable surrounding an order of protection:


  1. When seeking an order of protection yourself

  2. When one's been ordered or being attempted against you


In the latter case, it may be that the order was improper. Otherwise, you may have some compelling reason (such as child custody) to at least mitigate the difficulties associated with an existing protection order. In either case, the worst outcome is all you can expect if you don't take precautions of your own. If you've successfully filed an order of protection, you could still require the services of an attorney to help enforce its terms.


What's the Difference Between an Order Of Protection and a Restraining Order?

Like restraining orders, a protection order helps vulnerable parties achieve enforceable legal protection against some potentially threatening action against their interests. Where they differ (and strongly) is in the type of threat involved.


Restraining orders are less relevant for threat(s) of physical harm or other directed abuse, being the grounds for an order of protection. Instead, a restraining order protects parties from adverse actions in the business world, such as violating non-disclosure terms, interfering with an advantageous business relationship, and so on.


Elements of Civil and Criminal Law

Orders of protection are somewhat unique in that they're issued through civil hearings, yet they have criminal consequences. These primarily include:


  • Possible jail time for a first-time offense

  • Felony charges (such as aggravated stalking) for subsequent violations


You'll also likely be dispossessed of weapons, especially if the order came in the context of an assault, domestic abuse, or a domestic disturbance – the latter of which depends only on some reasonable fear of irreparable harm.


How To Obtain an Order of Protection in Tennessee

In most counties, the process for securing a court order of protection is identical. After filing a "Petition for Order of Protection" and properly submitting evidence (including affidavits, messages, etc.), you'll need to schedule a hearing for you and the opposing side.


The court will hear your motions and assess the facts, including any countermotions from the opposing side. Be prepared to satisfy the court's inquiries into any of the following:


  • The nature of any preexisting relationship and the basis of past conflicts

  • Evidence of threats, including messages, unsolicited contact, witness testimony, and more

  • Previous harm or attempted harm

  • Legal standing and relevant criminal history of the parties involved

  • Local laws that support granting your protective order


Don't Sleep on Your Rights – Obtain the Legal Protection You Deserve

The circumstances surrounding a protection order can be extremely intimidating; however, know that you have peace of mind after securing a proper order of protection. It also feels enormously empowering, just when you feel at your most vulnerable.


Don't tolerate living in fear because those who frequently rely on intimidation are only likely to worsen their criminal intent. For the same reason, don't stand idly by if someone attempts to tarnish your good name on specious grounds, especially if they have a proclivity for bending the halls of power for some dishonest means.


Contact Richards and Colburn Law and book a consultation to learn the best possible route to a fair and just outcome for your order of protection in and around Nashville, TN.


Image Credits: BCFC // Shutterstock

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