What is a Temporary Protection Order, or Temporary Restraining Order?Written on December 5, 2014
A Temporary Protection Order (TPO) is an order issued by a judge that is intended to keep one person from contacting another. If you have been served with a TPO, there are some important things to keep in mind to avoid violating the order. Violation of the order could result in criminal charges.
The process of filing a TPO begins when a petition is filed in court requesting the order. The basis for the TPO petition is often a result of alleged family violence or a pattern of stalking type behavior. In most cases, the person seeking the TPO will speak to the judge. Once the facts have been presented to the court, the judge will decide whether or not to issue the request should be granted. If granted, the TPO will be served by the Sheriff’s Department. If an individual is under 18 years of age, a person 18 or older will need to file on their behalf.
After it is filed, the person who files the request should have no contact with the person on the TPO order. This can be difficult, because of the all the technology available today. Contact includes phone calls, texts and social media. All of these methods of contact can be considered a form of contact. The TPO umbrella covers all of the above. A TPO may specify staying a certain distance away from another person, but it will also include telephone calls and electronic messages. The order also prevents a third party (like a mutual friend) from passing a message between the individuals involved.
A TPO may also award temporary custody of minor children from one parent to another. The order could also direct one party to make support payments. Depending on the circumstances, some orders may allow limited contact between parties if they have children together.
A person may also be required to leave their home if a TPO is issued. A deputy from the county Sheriff’s Department can accompany the person to their residence in order to retrieve their belongings. In most cases, a TPO is granted for an initial period of 30 days. After that, the situation is revisited in court so the judge can decide if the terms of the TPO will be extended. Remember that a TPO is not a criminal charge. It only means that someone has gone before a judge and made an accusation. If a TPO is violated, however, civil or criminal charges may soon follow.
In Cobb County Georgia, if an individual is found to have violated a TPO, they could be held in contempt of court or even charged with Aggravated Stalking. That is a felony in Georgia punishable by one to ten years in prison. The manner in which the TPO is violated will directly correlate to whether civil or criminal charges are brought.
If you have been served with a TPO, or if you want to pursue one, be sure to protect your rights and know exactly what you can and can’t do. The attorneys at The Silverbach Group will help protect your rights and act on your behalf.