A temporary protective order in Georgia is a protection against domestic violence and family violence. It is a formal court order (used in cases involving persons living together, whether present spouses, or whether married or not) that may be granted on a temporary basis, to protect a person and any at-risk children in that person’s care from a real or perceived threat or danger of being hurt.
The usual events from which such quick action in protection orders is needed may be occasioned by assault, stalking, or criminal damage to property centered on some domestic dispute. The Order specifically makes damage to property unlawful and subjects the target of the protective order to immediate jailing for any violation of the court order. Superior courts, Georgia’s court of general jurisdiction, has exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over legal disputes relating to the Georgia domestic violence statute, as defined in Official Code of Georgia Annotated, O.C.G.A. 19 13 1, which was revised and updated in 2017.
Assuming the Order (under OCGA 19-1-3-3) is granted, the Georgia protective violence restraining order will be served on the other party and is usually in effect for two to three weeks before scheduling a court hearing. The purpose of the hearing is for a judge to learn about the situation from both sides and determine if the order should be dropped or extended for up to a year.
What Is Family Violence in Georgia?
A short description of family violence is abuse (through physical, sexual or emotional force or domination) that occurs between family members or unmarried partners. The sharing of an abode can be current or past, and relationships can of any gender identity. However, the two parties ARE (or were previously) “connected” or related by the common bond of having lived together (e.g., grandfather, brother, sister, child, a live-in lover, ex-husband, same-sex partner or spouse)
The alleged victim of domestic violence typically employs a family law expert or criminal defense attorney to pursue these types of family violence protective orders. The definition of “family violence” under the GA Code Section is as follows:
As used in this article, the term “family violence” means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household:
- Any felony; or
- Commission of offenses of battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, or criminal trespass.
The term “family violence” shall not be deemed to include reasonable discipline administered by a parent to a child in the form of corporal punishment, restraint, or detention.
Protective orders can last between 12 months to three years and the initial hearing may determine the length of the protective order. Both parties are expected to attend the hearing. Each party can hire a domestic violence lawyer to present their case for either extending or dropping the order if modification is needed to adjust the terms and restrictions, but the District Attorney’s office may start the initial case.
If someone is unsure of the parameters of their protective order in Georgia, it is important for them to work with an experienced domestic violence attorney who can help to explain the order and what it entails.
Granting a Protective Order at an Ex Parte Hearing
If the accuser can establish a case with good cause that they are being harassed, potentially injured, or going to be injured, a judge will issue a protective order immediately. This type of family violence order protects a person from being harmed, from being followed, from being placed under surveillance, harassed, or intimidated.
Such a protective order in a family law case is designed to protect the complaining spouse’s safety and keep her or him from being potentially injured. It is customary for a Georgia attorney to file the petition for protection in the appropriate county clerk’s Superior Court. The pleadings must demonstrate that the aggrieved person believes that she or he is in immediate danger.
Ex Parte Means That Only One Person May Seek Judicial Relief
A judge could potentially issue a Georgia restraining order against a domestic partner or spouse without the accused person being present. This hearing, due to the alleged danger posed by the other party, is usually and ex parte appearance before a Judge, without the usual notice of a hearing.
To provide the accused party a chance to be heard, another hearing is typically scheduled about two to three weeks later. At the second protective order hearing, evidence will be heard from both sides, and the assigned superior court judge will issue the ruling at that time.
“Good Cause” Requirements to Obtain a Protective Order
A “good cause” is proven if the judge believes that the complaining person has presented a valid case of reasonable, apprehension or fear of harm. The threshold for providing such evidence for a temporary protective order in Georgia is low.
All that must be done is establish facts and circumstances that the aggrieved person believes will show a pattern of harassment and thereby set forth a case. It is common for a witness to give a couple of examples of what is going on that compelled the complaining witness to seek an order of protection.
There are factual instances that a judge can use to decide that a protective order should be granted. The standard a judge must use is whether the allegations are more likely than not to be true.
A civil protective order in Georgia may require a person to stay away from the other party, not go near them, not call them, not e-mail them, and not have any contact with the party in any way, shape, or form. It can be modified with both party’s consent and it can be modified if the judge believes that the order is overly broad.
Judges generally err on the side of granting these, because they would rather be too restrictive than not restrictive enough and a tragedy occur, after not acting to impose a legal restraint on the accused perpetrator of the violence. Because these cases commonly involve both civil law and criminal law, our law firm handles such cases.
Protective Order Modification or Adjustments
When changing or extending a protective order in Georgia, a person would have to move the court to modify the order. This means that your attorney files a motion and request a new hearing. The purpose of the new hearing is to ask for modification of the order.
In some our law firm’s cases, where parties calm down and start to work toward a solution (e.g., separation or divorce) our Atlanta lawyers can negotiate a consent order. It is not uncommon for the domestic parties to have a temporary protective order and then decide that they want to get back together. Such a plan should be approved by the Superior Court judge first.
They would file a motion, and then, at the hearing, the judge would decide. Or, a person can do a consent if they can get both sides are on board to agree. They might not need to have a contested hearing, but they could get a judge to sign off and agree to it by both sides going into court.
The Benefit of Having Domestic Violence Lawyers Near Me
By our Atlanta attorneys having four metro Atlanta locations, our clients have experienced attorneys near me in the greater Atlanta area. These various office locations enable our law office to COVER court dates like a temporary restraining order hearing. Ex-police officer Cory Yager, Best Lawyers in America recipient Larry Kohn, and 42-year veteran litigation specialist William C. Head are here to help you.
By calling criminal lawyers near me, you can reach one of our attorneys in Atlanta 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One or more of our Georgia lawyers is on duty during all HOLIDAYS, and WEEKENDS. CALL US NOW: 404-567-5515.
The initial legal advice about family violence and the first lawyer consultation is FREE. Plus, as opposed to some Atlanta lawyers, our domestic violence attorneys will meet your IN PERSON. Our position is that hiring an experience, effective domestic violence lawyer for representation is like hiring a surgeon for critical surgery.
OUR LAWYERS WORK WEEKENDS AND HOLIDAYS
This allows our Atlanta law firm to be able to provide immediate legal help for those accused of family violence charges in Georgia. Our law firm provides accused citizens legal advice on domestic violence on short notice. Below are our 4 law office locations providing CRIMINAL DEFENSE assistance in Family Violence situations. Speak with an experienced family violence lawyer and compare our attorney ratings and credentials with any “law firms near me” that you may consider hiring.
DOWNTOWN ATLANTA GEORGIA LOCATION IN FULTON COUNTY:
235 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
MARIETTA, COBB COUNTY, GEORGIA LOCATION:
109 Anderson Street
Marietta, GA 30060
MAIN LAW OFFICE IN SANDY SPRINGS, GEORGIA NEAR THE I-285 PERIMETER:
5590 Roswell Road
Sandy Springs, GA 30342
ALPHARETTA-MILTON-ROSWELL LOCATION IN NORTH FULTON COUNTY, GA
1001 Cambridge Square
Alpharetta, GA 30009
Our 4 busiest Georgia JURY TRIAL SUPERIOR COURTS for a family violence protective order are:
Superior Court of Fulton County
Superior Court of Gwinnett County
Superior Court of Cobb County
Superior Court of DeKalb County