Arkansas judges have the power to issue orders of protection, also known as restraining orders. When one individual has reason to believe that another individual is a threat to their safety, he or she can petition the court to seek an order of protection. Typically, orders of protection require the named individual to stay away from the person requesting protection. The named individual usually must refrain from all types of contact. Judges often issue orders of protection after domestic violence, stalking, or child custody issues take place.
If you’ve been served with an order of protection in Arkansas, you need an aggressive criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Bryce Cook, we are committed to defending our clients’ rights both inside and outside of the courtroom. When a judge issues an order of protection, it can negatively affect your employment, housing, children, and ability to own firearms legally. Contact our Arkansas criminal defense law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation today.
Orders of Protection Can Have Devastating Consequences
Learning that someone has petitioned an Arkansas court for an order of protection can be devastating. If you’ve been served with an order of protection, you are likely wondering what that means. An order of protection petition is not the same thing as a criminal charge. If the judge does issue an order of protection against you, you will not have a criminal record.
Nonetheless, your life could change dramatically if the court does issue an order of protection. Orders of protection are matters on the public record. Anyone conducting a background check on you for a potential job, housing loan, or college will likely discover the order of protection issued against you.
Understanding Orders of Protection in Arkansas
If an Arkansas judge issues a protective order against you, you will need to follow the order’s restrictions. Typically, protective orders will prohibit you from appearing in specific locations. If your partner or spouse petitioned the court for the protection order, you might become banned from entering your home.
Family or household members can petition the court for an order of protection. Adults can petition the court for protection on behalf of a minor child, or a person who’s been adjudicated to be incompetent. Orders of protection last a minimum of 90 days, up to a maximum of two years. Temporary orders of protection last a maximum of 30 days. Petitioners can request the court to renew the order of protection after it expires.
Orders of protection often prohibit you from communicating with the person who requested the order of protection. In some cases, an order of protection will prevent you from speaking to your children. Finally, an order of protection may bar you from owning a gun, even if you are a law enforcement officer or military officer whose job requires you to have a gun.
Protective orders in Arkansas can also award temporary child support, establish child visitation, and enforce costs associated with implementing it. Orders of protection can also prevent all different types of indirect or direct contact. Depending on the circumstances, a judge could prohibit you from going to the petitioner’s home, job, or school.
Orders of Protection Are Often a Factor in Divorce or Child Custody Cases
Unfortunately, many orders of protection are issued because of false accusations. During the process of legal separation, divorce, or child custody issues, emotions are often running extremely high. Sometimes, spouses or partners will lie about or exaggerate domestic disputes or domestic violence when they are seeking an order of protection.
Perhaps you got into a verbal argument with your spouse or partner one night after discussing divorce. The next day, you may be shocked to learn that your spouse has sought an order of protection against you. Many times, spouses and partners claim that domestic abuse or violence happened when it did not.
In a divorce proceeding, a spouse may use an order of protection to his or her advantage. By showing a family court judge that you’ve been the subject of an order of protection, your spouse can show that you shouldn’t have custody of your children.
Violating a Protective Order
If a court has issued a protective order against you, you must follow the order’s requirements. If a judge decides that you’ve violated your order of protection, law enforcement can arrest you without a warrant. In Arkansas, if you violate a protective order, prosecutors can charge you with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of one-year imprisonment in jail, a fine of $1,000, or both.
Defending Against a Protective Order in Arkansas
The most important thing to do after being served with an order of protection is to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. It can be tempting to ignore the order of protection, but doing so can cause extremely negative consequences. If you ignore the orders of protection and don’t show up for the scheduled hearing, the judge will rule in the petitioner’s favor and issue it against you.
Founding attorney Bryce Cook can advocate for you during the protective order hearing. We can help you present evidence that domestic violence or abuse did not take place. Depending on the case, evidence could include witness testimony and any other evidence that supports your claim. He can also cross-examine the petitioner seeking the order of protection. Suppose the court has already issued an order of protection against you. In that case, we can help you file a motion to modify the protective order or terminate it before it expires.
Contact Our Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
Time is of the essence when it comes to defending against protective orders in Arkansas. You must respond to being served the order of protection quickly. At the Law Offices of Bryce Cook, we are prepared to advocate for your rights. Contact our law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.