So You’ve Been Served with a Protection Order – Now What?
Seeking an Order of Protection is an extreme attempt to remedy an extreme situation. I cannot stress how important it is for some of these cases to be granted, nor can I stress how often these types of cases are baseless and unnecessary.
Sometimes it’s the only way you can get a protection. Other times, it is used as a way to harass someone for no obvious reason.
What is an Order of Protection?
If you’ve been served in a Protection Order case, then the Petitioner, or the person who filed the case against you, went to the Circuit Court and made allegations about you.
While there has been no finding about the truth of the allegations at this time, the Court may have already issued Orders that will be in place until there is an actual hearing.
Once the Respondent is served an order of protection in Missouri, there are two things that can happen at the hearing date:
- A Consent Judgment: The Court makes no finding of guilt, but issues an Agreed Order in which the Respondent cannot contact the Petitioner. This Order has the same penalties for violation as though the Court did make a finding and issue an Order.
- A Contested Hearing: The Respondent does not agree to a Consent Judgment and a hearing is held. Evidence will be submitted, and testimony will be given. The Judge only has to believe the Petitioner is 51% telling the truth and they will issue the Order.
The Petitioner will likely have an attorney representing them. If you’ve been served, then your next best step is to find an attorney to represent you. The Petitioner will have to prove their case against you, and this is where having an an experienced attorney by your side is imperative if you’d like to avoid an Order being filed against you.
Whether it is a Consent Order, or an Order granted after a contested hearing, protection Orders are usually limited to a period of one year, but can be renewed for additional time.
What to Do If You’re Served a Restraining Order in Missouri
There are a few things you need to do immediately if you are the Respondent:
- Collect important data. Use the documents you received when you were served to find the date, time, and location where the hearing is going to take place. You will need to be there!
- Avoid discussing your case publicly. If you were served a “Ex Parte Order of Protection” document or something similar, there are already Orders in place. Texting, calling, emailing, or even posting anything about the person on social media might be a violation of that Order. Do not contact the person who filed against you or post about the Order on social media, even if an ex parte Order was not issued.
- Contact your Guardian Ad Litem. If a Child Order of Protection was filed, you need to see if a Guardian Ad Litem was appointed in your case. If so, contact them immediately.
- Hire an experienced Protection Order attorney. You will always need a lawyer for a Missouri restraining order. An attorney is likely the only person who can give you a full, honest assessment of your situation and help you come to the right decision for your case.
Experienced Protection Order Attorneys in St. Louis & St. Charles, MO
Haefner Law Office remains experts in matters involving Protection Orders and this can benefit you immensely in your case. There is a good chance the opposing party will have an attorney advocating against you. You’ll need to be protected as best as you possibly can be.
Learn more about how we offer our Flat Rate Protection Order services in this two-minute primer:
Contact Haefner Law office at (314) 200-6101 to get more information regarding Protection Orders and the best course of action for your family.
Thank you for considering Haefner Law Office in this difficult time. We hope to hear from you soon.