You had an argument with your partner or a family member, and angry words were hurled back and forth. You may have not meant to cause any real harm, but your relative or partner could still be hurt and may seek an order for protection that kicks you out of your home and results in other serious consequences.
What is an order for protection?
An order for protection in Missouri is a legal court order that prevents you from abusing, stalking or harassing another person. You cannot get an order for protection unless you are in an intimate relationship with the other party or related by blood to the other party. This relationship is crucial. For example, you cannot get an order for protection against a creepy coworker.
An ex parte order for protection can force you to leave the home you share with the person who sought the order, and it can prevent you communicating with that person in any way. If you have children with this person, you could temporarily lose custody or them. The court can also issue any order reasonably deemed necessary to keep the person who sought the order safe.
What happens if 911 is called?
If 911 is called, the police will arrest someone. Even if you did not strike or harm someone you could be arrested. For example, if you are involved in a drunken fight or throw things and make threats, this could lead to an arrest. Ultimately, you can be served with an order for protection if a judge determines there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault.
What happens after you are served with an order for protection?
Orders for protection are initially issued “ex parte” by a judge. This means they are issued without a hearing and can be based only on the words of the alleged victim. Ex parte orders last for 15 days. You will then get a full hearing to determine whether the ex parte order for protection should be extended into a more permanent full order of protection.
You should attend your hearing for the ex parte order for protection. If the person who sought the order for protection does not show up to the hearing, your case will be dismissed. If you do not go to the hearing, a full order for protection can be issued based on the other party’s evidence alone.
Many people choose to work with an attorney when served with an ex parte order for protection and at the related hearing. Your rights are at stake, so you do not want to do anything that further harms your case.