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What Should I Do If I Am Served With A Protection Order?
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What Should I Do If I Am Served With A Protection Order?

Unfortunately, if you receive a knock at your door and a law enforcement officer gives you a bunch of papers, this could mean you’ve been served with a protection order (otherwise known as a restraining order). This is common when you are already facing criminal charges, but you can be served outside of a criminal case, as well. 

Depending on the case particulars, this protection order could force you from your home and prevent you from contacting the protected party that has served you with the order, among many other things. Should you go against this protective order, you’ll be arrested and held in jail, no matter your reasoning. 

Additionally, you need to know that you could face up to a year in jail for violating a protection order. That is why knowing what you should and shouldn’t do when served with one is important. To ensure you don’t do the wrong thing, our STEVE SMITH Trial Lawyers team has spoken about what you should do when you’re served with a protection order. 

Always contact our firm to discuss how we can help you in this situation. 

What Exactly Is A Protective Order?

Before we look at what you should and shouldn’t do, we want to briefly discuss a protective order. Ultimately, this type of court order is similar to a restraining order but different in that a protective order is issued in domestic cases. Orders go to spouses, partners, an individual someone lives with, or another relative. 

What Should You Do If You’re Served With A Protective Order?

You should remember that you must act quickly when you have been served with a protective order. In many instances, there might only be a few days to file a response with your local court and prepare for the hearing. 

  • Ensure you read the protective order’s entirety so you can follow it without accidentally violating it. If you accidentally violate the temporary protective order, fighting the permanent order will become significantly more difficult. Additionally, when reading it, note the date of the hearing, when the response papers are due, what the allegations are, and if there is evidence being used against you. 
  • Speak with a criminal defense attorney. It is always best to have legal representation when defending against an order. When speaking with your attorney, make sure to review your order with them so that they can determine your best course of action and prepare you for the hearing.
  • It’s crucial to gather any evidence you can with an attorney’s help. Some of the evidence you should try to gather includes physical evidence like clothing, objects, photos, and videos. You will need this evidence to fight the protective order you’ve been served with. In addition, you should also try to obtain documents relating to the incident, like emails, phone records, GPD records, and letters. Lastly, try to make a list of possible witnesses who can verify your whereabouts and conduct. 
  • Ensure you go to the hearing with your lawyer. If you don’t go, the local court will likely issue a permanent order, making it much more difficult for you to resolve. For example, a permanent order could determine temporary child custody rights, possession of a home and vehicles, or order the respondent to pay the petitioner’s household bills, mortgage, and child support.

What Shouldn’t You Do If You’re Served With A Protective Order?

Now that you know what you should do, it’s important to note what you shouldn’t. With protective orders, avoiding certain actions is important to defending against a permanent protective order. It’s also crucial to ensure you’re not facing criminal charges. 

  • Don’t try to talk to the person who served you with the protective order or witnesses who may testify against you. This includes not texting, calling, or emailing them. 
  • Don’t destroy evidence that might hurt your case, as this could cast a suspicious light on you and lead to criminal charges. 
  • Don’t disregard a temporary protective order. 
  • Don’t try to get around a provision, as this could lead to negative consequences. You also cannot claim ignorance and try to come into contact with the person who has served you with the protective order. 

Get In Touch With An Maine Criminal Defense Attorney Today To Resolve Your Protective Order

No matter what some might say, protective orders are serious. If you want to defend against a permanent order, you will need to work with a Maine criminal defense attorney who understands the local laws. 

At STEVE SMITH Trial Lawyers, we can help you refute accusations against your person by showing the court relevant arguments and admissible evidence. Our knowledge of protective orders and court proceedings can increase your chances of a favorable outcome. So, act quickly, and get in contact with us today. 

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