If you received notice that someone has filed for an Order of Protection against you, the first thing you should do is read the documents carefully and follow all instructions that they give.
The documents you should receive include:
- The Petition for Order of Protection
- The Emergency Order of Protection (if one was entered)
- Any supporting statements and accusations
You must immediately follow the Emergency Order. If you don't, you may be subject to criminal fines or jail time.
The order will give the reasons why the judge granted it. The order will also list a future court date, usually in a week or two. If you want a quicker court date, you can go to court and file a Petition to Rehear the original petition. This will get you a court date much sooner.
You can decide whether or not to go to court and argue your side. It is not against the law to not show up. However, the judge will not hear your side of the story.
Option 1: Do not go to court
You can choose to do nothing if you received notice that someone has filed for an Order of Protection against you.
However, you should know that if you do not show up in court on the date listed in your notice or Emergency Order, a judge will decide the case based on the accuser's side of the story.
If the Order of Protection is granted, you will have to follow it, even though you weren't at the hearing and didn't get to tell your side of the story.
Option 2: Respond to the court papers and participate in the court case
2. Tell your side of the story
You and your accuser will tell your sides of the story to a judge. You do not have a right to a jury trial in this type of case.
Your accuser will go first, testifying about the abuse to show that an Order of Protection is needed. After your accuser is done, you will have the chance to present your side of the story.
3. Wait for the decision
After hearing both sides, the judge will decide whether or not to enter an Order of Protection against you. The judge may do this right away, or may make a decision after a break. The break could take only a few hours or it could take up to a few weeks.
While you wait for a decision by the judge, your accuser may ask the judge to extend the existing Emergency or Interim Order.