Defending Against a Restraining Order in Alabama

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If you are facing false accusations of domestic violence, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to contact an experienced restraining order defense lawyer at Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC. We understand how devastating these situations can be. Your relationship with your spouse, child’s other parent, or ex-domestic partner may be strained enough. Now, instead of improving your relationship or moving forward with separate lives, you have to prove you never hurt the other person and that you are not a threat.

At Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC, we are here to explain how to get an order of protection dismissed to avoid further damage to your reputation and relationships with your family and friends. While we cannot guarantee that we will get the petition for a restraining order dropped, we are tenacious in fighting for this outcome in court. We have a track record of success for our Alabama clients.

Our domestic violence lawyers know that many times, allegations of abuse result in criminal charges. We also defend Alabama residents in domestic violence cases.

To discuss how we can help you, contact us online or call (205) 255-1155.

The Stakes Are High in Restraining Order Cases

A temporary or long-term restraining order against you can have a profound impact on your life. A protective order issued by a court could require you to move out of a shared apartment or home. With very little notice, you may need to find a new place to live.

The order could require you to stay away from your children. It could grant your accuser full physical custody of your children and require you to pay child support. Since you should absolutely not violate a restraining order, you are then forced to go to family court to try and obtain child custody or visitation.

The order can require you to let your accuser keep a shared vehicle or your vehicle. You could suddenly find yourself without a vehicle you typically rely on to get to work.

You could be required to hand over any firearms you own to law enforcement. You may not longer be able to own or possess guns, even hunting rifles.

Additionally, protective order cases become part of the public record. They can come up with an employer runs a background check on you, which could harm your chances of getting a job. It could also make it difficult to obtain certain professional licenses, if the governing body of the profession is concerned about your ethics.

A restraining order can impact every aspect of your life. With such high stakes, it is essential that you work with an experienced attorney to defend yourself and have a long-term or temporary order of protection dismissed.

How a Restraining Order Defense Lawyer Can Help You

When you are served with legal paperwork regarding a restraining order against you, your first thought may be to appear in court and defend yourself. At Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC, we highly recommend considering hiring an experienced attorney to represent you. These types of court hearings can be emotionally very difficult. Hiring a lawyer enables you to place some distance between you and the proceedings, ensuring someone who is objective and skilled presents your defense to the judge and cross-examines your accuser.

Our restraining order defense attorneys can help you by:

  • Reviewing the allegations against you;
  • Determining whether you were properly served the court documents;
  • Gathering evidence to support your innocence;
  • Filing your appearance in your court;
  • Filing any necessary response to the restraining order petition;
  • Preparing you for the protection order hearing;
  • Representing you during the protection order hearing;
  • Presenting evidence of your innocence during the hearing;
  • When applicable, presenting evidence of the plaintiff’s ulterior motives at the hearing;
  • Fighting for the false order of protection request to be dropped; and
  • If necessary, fighting for the provisions within a protective order to be as narrow as possible.

Types of Protective Orders You May Face in Alabama

There are three types of protective orders you could have filed against you in Alabama: retraining orders, no contact orders, and Protection From Abuse (PFA orders).

During a domestic relations case, such as a divorce or child custody matter, the other party could ask for a restraining order against you. You typically will defend against these accusations of domestic violence in the same court as your family law matter.

If you are accused of committing a domestic violence offense, then you may face criminal charges. Under Ala. Code 30-5-2, domestic abuse includes:

  • Arson
  • Assault
  • Child abuse
  • Criminal coercion
  • Criminal trespass
  • Harassment
  • Kidnapping
  • Menacing
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Sexual abuse
  • Stalking
  • Theft
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Any attempt to commit one of these or another crime

During the criminal case, the prosecutor may seek a no contact order to protect your alleged victim. If the judge approves the no contact order, you cannot seek any communication or in-person contact with the alleged victim.

The third type is a PFA order, also known as an order of protection. Another person may seek a PFA order against you without there being a domestic relations or criminal case against you. This can be a stand-alone court case. For this order, there must be a personal relationship between you and the other party. You could be family members by blood or marriage. You could be current or former spouses, romantic partners, dating partners, or household members.

If you are falsely accused of domestic violence and you need to dispute a restraining order, no contact order and criminal charges, or an order of protection, do not hesitate to contact our experienced restraining order defense lawyers at Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC.

What Are Your Rights Against A Restraining Order?

When someone files for a restraining or PFA order against you, you have the right to service of process. This is the legal process for being informed of the court case, a temporary order against you (if there is one), and the hearing date. Typically, you will be served by a member of the county sheriff’s office.

Once you are aware of the court proceedings, you have every right to hire an attorney. In fact, you should hire a lawyer in order to build a strong defense. A temporary PFA order can damage your reputation, but the other party acquiring a long-term protective order could severely damage your reputation and your relationship with your family. If you have children, a PFA order could lead to a loss of child custody or visitation rights.

You have the right to appear in court at the hearing and the right to present a defense. At this court hearing, the alleged victim will also present their accusations to the court. It can be difficult to sit there and listen to false restraining order accusations. However, you need to remain calm and level-headed during this process. Outbursts and displays of temper will reflect poorly on you, and in the eyes of the judge, may support the other party’s allegations.

Fighting a False Restraining Order

It is the other person’s job to prove that abuse occurred. They must present enough evidence to the judge that you committed an act of domestic violence against them. The plaintiff does have a leg up in this type of case compared to in criminal domestic violence cases. In criminal cases, the prosecutors must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil protection order case, the plaintiff only needs to show the judge that you committed the violent or harmful act by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a lower standard.

That does not mean it is impossible to overcome the allegations, though. You should speak with an experienced attorney about how to dispute a restraining order. Depending on your circumstances, a lawyer may present evidence to the court that:

  • The alleged abuse did not occur;
  • The alleged abuse did not occur to the extent the plaintiff claims;
  • You are not a threat to the plaintiff’s safety and well-being;
  • You have a good and moral character;
  • The plaintiff abused you; and/or
  • The plaintiff has ulterior motives, such as influencing a divorce or child custody matter.

To prove these assertions, you may testify during the court hearing, your lawyer may cross examine the plaintiff, and others may testify on your behalf as eye witnesses to the alleged abuse or as character witnesses.

If the plaintiff cannot establish that it is more likely than not that you committed the abuse, then the judge will not grant a year long protection order.

Suing for a False Restraining Order

If someone filed for a restraining order against you knowing that their allegations were false, you may have the right to file a lawsuit against your accuser. Depending on the situation, you may have the right to file a defamation or libel lawsuit.

If you are interested in filing a defamation or libel suit, you must be prepared to prove:

  • The statements made against you are false;
  • The person who made the statement did so with some degree of fault, which could be carelessness or intent to do harm;
  • Your reputation was damaged or ruined by the false accusations; and
  • The type and extent of the damage to your reputation.

It can be extremely difficult to prove defamation or libel, however that does not mean you should not speak to an attorney about this option. Contact Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC for help today

To discuss how to get a protection order dropped, call an experienced defense lawyer at Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC. We understand the importance of protection and restraining orders. We also know many men and women face false accusations. To learn more about your rights and potential defenses, call us at (205) 255-1155 or contact us online.

Types of Domestic Abuse Cases We Handle

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