People who feel unsafe and threatened from others often get protection orders. In simple terms, a protection order, also called an OP or order of protection, is a legal paper that a judge issues, involving rules, preventing contact between a restrained person and a protected person.
The restrained party is the defendant, while the protected party is the individual who is seeking protection. In many cases, protection orders are waived or modified. Here’s how a protection order can be changed or dropped, along with some other important considerations and warnings.
Types of Protection Orders
The two main kinds of protection orders include no-contact orders and peaceful contact orders.
- In a no-contact order, a defendant is unable to have any contact at all with the protected person.
- There’s also a peaceful contact order. This is when a judge makes needed adjustments that address specific conditions. In other words, there may be some form of limited contact.
Getting a Protective Order Modified or Dropped
Victims who are named in protection orders can ask a court to modify or drop a protection order. This entails the removal of some conditions or all of them. Because it’s a complex procedure, it’s best to use a qualified criminal defense lawyer.
Plaintiffs who have asked for the protective order can’t change the terms in a protection order just by giving defendants permission to have contact privileges, again. They must ask for changes by addressing a judge or an Assistant DA (District Attorney.)
They’ll need to explain why they want to make changes to a protection order. Furthermore, they need to state that they have willingly made their decision on their own free will and weren’t coerced into doing so.
After plaintiffs are asked if they’ve discussed their decision with a victim specialist, they need to sign a petition. The court clerk sets up a court hearing, at least 10 days later, in which both parties must attend.
It’s at this hearing that a judge determines whether or not to grant the requested changes. A judge may fully change the protection order, make partial changes or deny modifications.
Is a Protective Order the Same Thing as a Restraining Order?
Many people think a protection order is the same thing as a restraining order, but they’re somewhat different. Both of them are used for restraint purposes.
The main difference is that protection orders entail much more extreme court rulings that are used in preventing family violence and are designed to protect the life, emotional welfare and limb of victims of domestic violence.
How to Protect Yourself and Prevent Problems
If you’re a defendant, you’ll need to protect yourself because violating a protection order can result in new charges being filed against you, besides getting arrested. For example:
- In addition to avoiding the plaintiff’s place of residence, be sure to stay away from areas where he or she frequently goes, such as a workplace or school.
- If you’re in a public place, such as a store or restaurant and see the protected party, leave immediately.
- Avoid any disagreements with friends or family members of the protected person, and never send emails, letters or faxes to this plaintiff.
- If you receive an email from the plaintiff, hand it over directly to your attorney.
- If the protected person tries to call you, hang up promptly and inform your lawyer of the call. Don’t even try to patch up differences.
Considerations and Warnings
- Both the defendant and the plaintiff need to understand that filing a petition doesn’t change an order’s terms.
- A protective order isn’t a requirement for calling 911. On the other hand, police officers tend to respond faster when callers say that they have a protective order.
- Protective orders can be increased, as well as decreased.
Being served with a protection order can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face this problem alone. If you’ve been issued a protection order, call us. Our qualified, experienced criminal defense team serves the greater San Diego area. Please contact us, and let us explain how we can help you.