What is a Temporary Protective Order?
A Temporary Protective Order (TPO) is a legal document issued by a court to help victims obtain protection from persons abusing, harassing, or stalking them. This order will generally state that one person is prohibited from having contact with another person and may even remove or restrict someone from a certain place or residence.
How to Obtain a TPO
Generally, TPO's are issued through the Superior Court of the County in which the perpetrator or defendant lives. If the perpetrator is not a resident of the State of Georgia, the order may be issued in the County where the abuse occurred.
The following must occur before a Judge will consider issuing a TPO:
* a recent act of Family Violence
* Victim or some one acting on victims behalf must complete petition requesting a TPO
* Victim will then speak with the Judge
* If the Judge finds that the order should be issued, the proper papers will be filed with the clerks office and the Sheriff's office will receive a copy of the order so that the defendant can be served with the order
* Both the perpetrator and the victim will have to appear before a judge within 30 days of the original order to determine whether or not the TPO
should be extended for up to six months
* If the defendant violates the provisions set forth in the order, he/she can be held in contempt of court and/or possibly be arrested for a criminal violation. Any violation of the order should be reported to law enforcement and the courts.
Who can apply for a TPO?
Under Georgia Law, an application for a TPO can be made when an act of family violence has occurred in one of the following relationships:
* past or present spouses
* persons who are parents of the same children
* parents and children
* step-parents and step-children
* foster parents and foster children
* persons living or formerly living in the same household
* victims of Stalking
"No-Contact" vs. Restraining Order
There are numerous differences between these procedures. A "no-contact" order is an automatic condition of a defendant's bond that will be ordered by the judge regarding a violent crime. The majority of domestic violence cases have this condition imposed upon the person charged.
The "no-contact" is in effect for the entire length of the criminal case or until the victim requests that it be removed or "lifted." It is only removed after the approval of the District Attorney and the judge handling the case. On average, this takes between seven to eleven days. This order may include the victim as well as any children that were involved, and is put in place for the victims' protection.
A "no-contact" means that a defendant is not to call, write, have a third party contact, or themselves physically contact the victim or any other party the judge orders the defendant have "no contact" with. However, this order does have an expiration date once a deferred sentence or probationary sentence has been successfully completed.
A "no-contact" is often ordered by a judge as part of a sentence as well. For further information, call the Victim/Witness program in the District Attorney's office.
While a "no-contact" is a criminal process, a restraining order is entirely held in the civil courts. A person seeking a restraining order prohibiting another person from having contact with them must fill out an application, as well as go before a judge to plead their case.
First a temporary restraining order (TRO) is granted, then a permanent restraining order (PRO) is granted following a second hearing approximately two weeks later. For more information, call the Clerk of the Superior and State Courts.
If a temporary or permanent restraining order is violated, this is a criminal offense and the District Attorney's office would become involved once the police were notified, and confirmed that a violation of the order had occurred.