There are typically three main ways that accusations of domestic violence can affect someone in Missouri. The first is by damaging their reputation when the accusations occur on a social level and do not result in any kind of legal action. People can find themselves cut off from friendships or struggling to get a job if accusations affect their reputation.
The second is through criminal charges, which could lead to someone’s incarceration and numerous other penalties. In many cases, the state will move forward with a case even if the alleged victim doesn’t want to participate in the prosecution. The third involves the alleged victim seeking an order of protection.
Judges can issue an order of protection when they believe that someone has a valid reason to fear for their safety based on previous acts of violence, threats or stalking. An order of protection can limit someone’s personal freedoms and affect many aspects of their life. How can someone defend against a pending order of protection?
A defense at the formal hearing is an option
Frequently, a person seeking an order of protection in Missouri will request an ex parte order of protection and then follow up with a full order of protection. The person accused of inappropriate behavior often doesn’t have an opportunity to speak and may not even know ahead of time about the hearing. The ex parte order is only in effect for 15 days, which means it won’t have a long-term impact on someone’s life.
However, a full order of protection can last for years and limit someone’s life significantly. The person who could be subject to the order will receive advance notice of any hearings for a full order of protection and can present their case in court at the scheduled hearing. Many people hire criminal defense attorneys to help them avoid an order of protection that will restrict their options.
Defense strategies range from showing that the person requesting the order has continued to initiate contact since doing so or by presenting evidence that undermines their claims of stalking or abuse. The claims made by the party seeking the order will influence how someone might best defend themselves.
Understanding the rules that apply to Missouri orders of protection can help those who are anticipating a hearing in Criminal Court related to domestic violence allegations against them to better understand their rights, responsibilities and options under the law.