Violation of an Order of Protection
Federal and state laws protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. To prevent violence, harassment, or unwelcome contact from an alleged abuser, a person may seek a restraining order from the courts. If a judge grants an order of protection against you, you face significant legal consequences. In Tennessee, a person who violates the terms of an order of protection may be arrested and subjected to criminal charges. If you have been accused of violating a protection order, Nashville domestic violence lawyer Bernie McEvoy can assist you. He counsels and represents persons accused of criminal acts in Davidson or Williamson County.Violation of an Order of Protection
In Tennessee, a restraining order may be issued against a person accused of domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual assault. The process begins when a person files a petition for an order of protection. The petitioner is the person requesting protection, and the respondent is the person that the petitioner is seeking protection from. During the hearing, the court will review evidence of the alleged abuse and may order the respondent to comply with specific terms and conditions. For example, the court may order the respondent to cease all contact and communication with the petitioner, prohibit the respondent from abusing, threatening, frightening, or stalking the petitioner, and/or grant the petitioner possession of their shared residence. In addition, the respondent typically cannot possess any firearms while the order of protection remains in effect.
It is important to note that the issuance of a protection order against someone, without more, does not make them guilty of a crime. However, disobeying any term of a valid order of protection may constitute a criminal act. In Tennessee, a law enforcement officer may arrest a person, with or without a warrant, if there is probable cause to believe that the person has violated an order of protection, and the officer has verified that a protection order is in effect against that person. If you are arrested for violating an order of protection, you may not be released for at least twelve hours from the time of your arrest, unless a rare exception applies. An experienced attorney can review the charges you are facing and advise you on your legal options.Criminal Charges for a Violation in Tennessee
It is a Tennessee criminal offense to knowingly violate an order of protection or a restraining order. To be convicted of a violation, the respondent must have received notice of the petition for an order of protection and must have had the opportunity to appear and be heard. Further, the protection order must contain specific findings of fact by the court that that the respondent committed domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. It is also a criminal offense for someone to knowingly violate a no-contact order issued against them after their arrest for a crime against a domestic abuse victim. A violation of an order of protection or no-contract order is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, and a fine between $100 and $2,500.
When the protection order violation involves a firearm or assault, other criminal charges may apply. It is a Class A misdemeanor and a violation of an order of protection to knowingly possess a firearm while the order entered against you is in effect. If you have a valid protection order against you, and you assault or attempt to assault a person who is protected under that order, you may be charged with a Class C felony for aggravated assault. Other consequences for violating a protective order may include being held in civil or criminal contempt of court. The defendant may also face additional charges for any other crimes committed while violating the protection order.Retain a Nashville Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
If you have been arrested for violating an order of protection, retain a criminal defense attorney to preserve your legal rights. Bernie McEvoy has experience representing individuals who have been charged with domestic violence in Franklin, Nashville, and other areas of Davidson and Williamson Counties. To schedule a free consultation, call (615) 255-9595 during business hours or (615) 804-8779 after hours and on weekends, or contact the Law Office of Bernie McEvoy online.