A protective order is an order from the court stating that one party may not have any contact with another party. The purpose of that order is to protect the petitioner from any risk of future harm. A protective order also called a restraining order, would prohibit certain types of contact, and possibly all contact, between the parties. Issuing West Palm Beach protective orders is a common action to take following allegations of domestic violence. If an individual wants to know more about protective orders, they should consult a seasoned protective order attorney that could pursue a positive outcome for them.

Difference Between Protective Orders and Restraining Orders

A restraining order would prevent a person from doing specific actions including:

  • Having contact with the complainant
  • Going close to the complainant’s job
  • Going to the complainant’s school
  • Going to where the complainant lives
  • Having third-party contact with the complainant’s neighbors

A restraining order would restrain the person and prevent them from having certain contact with the other party. Issuing protective orders in West Palm Beach is often done in order to prevent a specific occurrence from happening. If a lawyer were to subpoena certain records from a hospital a protective order may prohibit that healthcare agency from releasing that information because they are protecting a person’s privacy. In the criminal law context, people usually deal with restraining orders and not protective orders. A protective order is usually a word used in a civil lawsuit, preventing lawyers from getting certain information, but a restraining order would prohibit conduct, not action. The various types of protective orders are a protective order against domestic violence, a protective order against stalking, a protective order against cyber-stalking, and a protective order for dating violence if the occurrence is not between a husband and wife.

When are Protective Orders Used?

In Florida, protective orders and restraining orders are used together. They are the same thing in the context of domestic violence. The circumstances in which a judge might grant a protective order include if the moving party can demonstrate by sufficient evidence that they are in fear of future imminent harm from a person based upon two acts of violence that happened within the last year, or that they already are an alleged victim of domestic violence.

If someone wants to get a protective order because their partner has been increasingly violent, either with threats or actions, has been drinking too much, and they think that their partner may act violently towards them, judge may grant that protective order or restraining order if she can demonstrate two acts of aggression within a period of one year, also known as good cause. Good cause can be two acts of threatening violence within a period of one year, an actual act of domestic violence which the person has been charged with, or acts that demonstrate malice towards another. Any of those would constitute good cause, and if one is able to demonstrate those by preponderance of the evidence to the court in West Palm Beach, then the court would be valid in issuing protective orders.

Proving Malice or Bad Intent

If that person has already been an alleged victim of domestic violence and the other party has already been arrested for domestic violence, judges in West Palm Beach will issue a protective order almost automatically. If there is no domestic violence and the threat involves harassing or stalking, the petitioner would have to prove some degree of malice or bad intent. This includes the other party going to their job and telling them that the petitioner is a loser, is a drug addict, is unreliable, is a liar, etc. If someone causes fear in the petitioner, that is malice as well. Under the terms of the law, there is no malice if the actions involve no fear of any harm coming to anybody.

The actions may be annoying and unwanted, but if there is no fear of any harm, it is not considered malice in the context of seeking a restraining or protective order. There has to be either some violence that occurred, two instances within the last year where threats of violence were made and an actual act of violence is believed to be imminent, or acts of malice that are leading to domestic violence. Those would be reasons for a judge to grant a protective order or a restraining order.

Due Process and Protective Orders

The United States country grants citizens due process, which means that nothing can be issued against a defendant or a citizen without notice and an opportunity to be heard. If someone thinks that they are in need of a protective order, they would either hire a lawyer to fill out a petition or go to the courthouse where they would get assistance for filling out a petition. The petition would ask them in detail why they feel they have the need for a protective order, in other words, the specific actions that are leading them to ask for the protective order.

A judge will review that petition can do one of three things. The judge can say it is not sufficient and deny the petition flat out. The judge can say that it is sufficient and will grant a temporary protective order until the other party can defend the petition in court. There is a third, hybrid option in which a judge could say that the petition is insufficient but will grant a hearing in the future to see more evidence. If an individual wants to know more about issuing West Palm Beach protective orders, they should speak with a knowledgeable lawyer that could answer their questions.

Protective Orders
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