Orders of Protection
An order of protection (OP) is a legally enforceable document that limits one’s ability to go near or contact the person (including by telephone or social media) who requested the order. This could prevent someone from living in his/her home or contacting his/her children if they are also included in the Order. An order of protection is in place for one year, but the person requesting the order may file for an extension extending the order. The order can be extended as far as 10 years if the person who it was taken out against has violated the order two or more times. Before an order of protection is granted, but after it has been requested, an ex-parte order of protection will be in place until the hearing. If this is violated it could result in up to ten days in jail for contempt of court. Once the order has been granted, a violation could result in a sentence up to 11 months and 29 days in jail.
It is not enough for someone to simply request an order of protection; certain requirements must be met for it to be enforceable as a full order. The respondent must have been served with the Order, had an opportunity to appear before the Court and be heard, and the Court must have made a specific finding that the order was required by statute.
Tennessee law prohibits the carrying or possession of a firearm while subject to an order of protection “that fully complies with 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8)” (the federal law prohibiting firearm possession by a person subject to a domestic violence protective order). Firearms must be disposed of or transferred to a third party within 48 hours of an Order of Protection being granted, and the issuance of the order may terminate, or at least suspend, the individual’s ability to purchase or possess a firearm for any reason.
Violating an order of protection will result in a Class A misdemeanor with minimum $100 and the order of protection will go on your record. Not only that, but you can be arrested for the violation without a warrant and held for up to 12 hours. Possession of a firearm while an order of protection stands is a separate offense, so it is possible to be charged with both violating the order of protection and possessing a firearm while a valid order of protection stands.
If the respondent of the order of protection assaults the protected person while an OP is in place, then that assault can jump up to a class C felony Aggravated Assault which could carry 3-15 years in prison.
If you are interested in obtaining an order of protection against someone, or in defending yourself against an order of protection, Baker Associates is knowledgeable and capable on both sides of the aisle. Please don’t hesitate to contact us no matter what your position is.