Temporary Protective Order Georgia: What You Need to Know
When you face a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) in Georgia, you need the legal advice of a skilled attorney. Contact the Summer Law Firm for assistance.
Applying for a Temporary Protective Order
You can apply for a temporary protective order in Georgia when someone abuses you, threatens to hurt you, or harasses you. Temporary protective orders protect you from the said harasser by legally obligating them to stop whatever acts they may be doing to you.
As well as stopping them from contacting you, the order may also impose other penalties on the person, such as attorneys’ fees. TPOs usually have the same effect as restraining orders with added protecting qualifications that a judge may deem necessary.
What Is a Temporary Protective Order?
A temporary protective order (TPO) is an order in Georgia granted by the court in favor of one person against another to obtain protection from abuse or harassment. When applying for a temporary protective order in Georgia, you must specify what type of order you need. There are three types:
Family violence protective orders.
Stalking temporary protective orders.
Employer protective orders.
Family Violence Protective Order
As the name implies, this temporary protective order is issued against one’s household or family member who has exhibited or committed violence against the petitioner. It covers offenses such as assault, battery, stalking, emotional harm, criminal trespass, unlawful restraint, criminal damage to property, and any felony against the victim.
Obtaining this order required evidence of a familial relationship with the perpetrator. The perpetrator could be a spouse or ex-spouse, a parent, or someone who lives with the victim or once lived with the victim. However, the reasonable discipline of a child by their parent or guardian is exceeded.
In Georgia courts, you can also get a Dating Violence Protective order against someone who commits an assault, battery, or any felony against you or stalks you. The condition is that they must be someone you dated within the last six months or someone you are expecting a child with.
Stalking Temporary Protective Order
One can get this type of order against anyone who surveils or follows a person without their consent or threatens the person’s safety. Stalking may also be through repeated physical or electronic contact to intimidate the victim. No threat of harm or death is required.
The court will grant the order if they find that the respondent indeed committed the act of stalking and the petitioner needs protection from a future recurrence. If you need help proving stalking, consult a criminal trespass lawyer.
Employer Protective Order
This order generally protects victims of workplace violence or a “credible threat of violence.” The perpetrator may verbally threaten the victim at work, stalk the victim at work, enter the victim’s office without consent, and continuously contact the victim at work via electronics.
Unlike other protective orders, you cannot obtain this order on your own. Instead, your employer must file for it on your behalf. It also does not require that you a future threat of violence.
How Do I Get a Temporary Protective Order in Georgia
To get a temporary protective order, you need to follow the following steps:
Make Sure You are Eligible and Prepare
To file for a TPO, you need to be at least 18 years old. If not, someone else has to do so on your behalf. Also, you might need basic information about the respondent, such as their address, name, and other contact information.
You’ll need to gather clear evidence of their actions, such as pictures and correspondence. Additionally, you will need a good reason why you need to be protected, and you may be able to find witnesses willing to testify on your behalf.
In a family violence situation, an assault and battery lawyer may be able to help you prepare for what lies ahead. A lawyer can also pick up the necessary protective order petition from the Clerk’s Office and help you fill it out.
File the Forms
After preparing, you’ll need to file the form at the Clerk’s office. The proper place to file it is at the Superior court in the County where the respondent lives. If the respondent does not reside in Georgia, you may file the petition in the County where you reside or where the abuse occurred.
A protective order is free to file, though you may need to hire an attorney. The judge may order the respondent to pay the petitioner’s attorney’s fees if the protective order is granted.
As soon as you file your petition, the court may hold an ex-parte hearing to determine if you are in immediate danger. The respondent is not notified of this, and you may be granted an ex-parte protective order of a few days or pending the time that a full hearing is held.
Within 30 days of filing the petition, the court will hold a hearing where you will present your case, and the respondent will be around to defend themselves. After this, the judge will decide to either grant or dismiss the petition. If granted, you will receive a certified copy, and the person will also be served a copy of the order.
Is Temporary Protective Order Records Public Information in Georgia?
Temporary protective orders in Georgia are recorded in its Protective Order Registry. It is a non-public record that is accessible to law enforcement, judges, and prosecuting lawyers. Also, a TPO is not recorded in an individual’s criminal record. This is because the TPO process is a civil one. But, a TPO criminal violation will appear on a person’s public criminal record.
However, this does not mean that the public cannot access information on temporary protective orders. Since a TPO case is like every other civil case, the documents relating to the case will be available at the county clerk’s office for in-person viewing. Therefore, in this regard, TPO records are public information in Georgia.
How Long Does a Temporary Protective Order Last in Georgia?
An initial protective order, such as a temporary ex-parte order, usually lasts 30 days. Within these thirty days, the court would hold a hearing to determine whether a temporary protective order is required. It could last anywhere between 6 to 12 months at the judge’s discretion if granted. However, one can petition the Superior Court for the order to be extended to 3 years or convert it to a permanent order.
How To Respond to a Temporary Protective Order Georgia
If you have been falsely accused and a TPO petition has been filed against you, here are a few things you can do:
File a counter-petition
Settle out of court
Agree to a mutual TPO
Defend yourself in the courtroom.
You can point out the loopholes in the petitioner’s case in a TPO hearing. Your attorney can also cross-examine them to help your defense. You will win the hearing if they cannot prove their allegations satisfactorily.
As with all legal issues, a temporary protection order hearing requires hiring qualified legal representation to help guide you on further steps. If a protective order has been filed against you, a criminal defense attorney in Gainesville may be able to help you. Contact Jacob Summer, Attorney at Law, to discuss the TPO process today!