Domestic Violence & Temporary Protective Orders in Augusta, Georgia
What Is a TPO?
A temporary protective order (TPO) is a legal document issued by a court to help victims obtain protection from persons abusing, harassing or stalking them. A TPO will generally prohibit contact between parties and may remove or restrict someone from a certain place or residence. The following must occur before a judge will consider issuing a TPO:
- The violence or threat of violence recently occurred or is reasonably likely to occur
- The victim (or someone acting for him or her) filled out a petition
- The victim talked with the judge
The clerk’s office receives the paperwork and an order is issued by the judge. Then, the sheriff’s office will serve the defendant with the order. If the defendant doesn’t adhere to the order, he or she may potentially be arrested.
What if the TPO Is Violated?
If a TPO is violated, the violator may be charged with felony aggravated stalking. Violations of other orders, generally referred to as “no contact” orders, will be handled through civil contempt actions.
What Protection Can This TPO Give Me?
Pursuant to Georgia law (O.C.G.A. 19-13-4), a TPO can, among other things:
- Tell one person to stop his or her violence, stalking or harassment.
- Give one spouse sole possession of the family house and potentially evict the other.
- Force one spouse to provide somewhere else for the other spouse and/or kids to live.
- Give temporary custody of minor children to one parent.
- Order one spouse to pay temporary financial support for the spouse and/or children.
- Order one party to obtain psychiatric care, anger management counseling or drug testing.
- Always keep a copy of the order with you. Keep copies of the order at other places you frequent, such as school, day care, relative’s home, work, etc. If you believe a TPO is being violated, report this violation to law enforcement immediately.
- Keep all evidence of violence such as photos, caller ID information, phone records, cards, and letters and document of each contact or violation.
- If you are being followed, contacted or harassed, contact law enforcement immediately.
- Don’t let the defendant violate the order, which means do not contact him/her once the order is in effect. This type of contact may invalidate the order.
- If you feel you are in danger call 911!
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