A restraining order, or as it’s more formally called in Florida, a personal protection order, is a court order designed to restrict your behavior. In most cases, the court issues a restraining order to keep you from bothering or harming a specific person. While people have requested restraining orders for some pretty silly reasons, courts will only issue them if the person requesting the restraining order can demonstrate a reasonable, appreciable fear of harm from the responding party.

Reasons judges order a restraining order include:

  • You’ve threatened to physically hurt the person applying for the restraining order
  • There’s evidence that you tried to psychologically damage the person applying for the restraining order
  • There’s evidence that you’re attempting to remove assets/money from the person applying for the restraining order
  • Trademark/patent violation
  • If you’re considered a public nuisance
  • If you consistently trespass

Sometimes a judge refers to a restraining order as a temporary injunction. It’s worth noting that courts have turned some temporary injunctions into permanent injunctions.

When a judge determines the need for a restraining order, the judge looks at the patterns of both the person named in the restraining order and the alleged victim. In most cases, the judge will only issue the restraining order if a pattern of behavior indicates that the victim has attempted to remove him- or herself from the situation, and the alleged attacker has persisted with the harassment.

This means that someone who accuses you of assault once often can’t obtain a restraining order against you because the alleged victim hasn’t established a behavior pattern.

Types of Georgia Restraining Orders

Georgia has two types of restraining orders: Temporary Ex Parte Orders and Family Violence Protection Orders.

The temporary ex parte orders are designed to provide immediate protection to people seeking instant protection from abusive family members. Courts will issue these restraining orders even when the defendant doesn’t appear in court, provided the person who has brought the matter to court provides proof that the person they’re seeking protection from does pose a danger. The temporary ex parte order is only good for a short period of time, usually about 20 days. This restraining order is also issued in stalking cases.

Ex parte orders are issued in child custody cases. They’re only issued when evidence convinces the judge that a parent could harm or abduct a child absent court action.

How Georgia Restraining Orders Restrict Your Actions

The main function of the restraining order is to maintain a specific distance between you and the person who petitioned the court to institute the restraining order. In addition to keeping you a certain number of feet from the person, the restraining order will also prohibit you from calling or emailing the person, going near the person’s personal property, or trying to establish contact through other means.

Violating a restraining order may constitute contempt of court, and depending on how you behaved while violating the restraining order, the court may add a list of potential, additional charges. The violation also strengthens any argument the person who had the restraining order placed on you makes in court.

The best case scenario after you’re caught violating a restraining order is that you’ll receive a fine that can range to as much as $5,000. Many judges order that the defendant not only pays a fine but also spends a certain amount of time in jail. Even worse, if a prosecutor who proves you committed another crime while violating the restraining order, such as vandalizing a vehicle, may enhance the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Contact the Khonsari Law Group Today

It’s not unheard of for a someone to face charges for violating a restraining order—even though they’ve done nothing wrong. Here at Khonsari Law Group, we’ve also handled cases where circumstances conspired to put defendants in positions where they inadvertently violated restraining orders. If you feel you’re falsely accused of restraining order violation, contact Khonsari Law Group online, or call our office at (727) 269-5300.