A protective order a powerful legal arrangement that is supposed to protect family members and people in a household from potential domestic violence. These documents prohibit a listed person for a specific period from harassing or abusing the person who filed requesting one.
If you are looking for help with a protective order or need to defend against one, you need a skilled domestic violence attorney who is well-versed in this unique area of law. A protective order can have a major impact on the actions you can take. Any violation of the arrangement could even result in criminal penalties against you. Working with a skilled Charleston protective orders lawyer is a must. Our Charleston, Summerville, Mount Pleasant, Hanahan, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, and North Charleston team members know how to handle these cases and protect your rights.
Who is Allowed to Request a Protective Order?
South Carolina Code § 20-4-40 permits people who have endured harm from a family or household member to request a protective order—formally called an Order of Protection. This means that people who have suffered abuse at the hands of a household member or on behalf of a household minor are allowed to file for this kind of safeguard.
These individuals might include spouses, children, people who live together and were romantically involved, people with a child in common, or other family members. If an individual is unsure whether they are eligible to file an Order of Protection, a knowledgeable attorney in Charleston could help make that determination.
Order of Protection vs. Restraining Order
According to South Carolina law, an Order of Protection is limited to family or household member abuse, but a restraining order is designed for everyone else. If a person is suffering harassment, stalking, or other harm and they are not family or a household member, they could instead seek a restraining order.
How to File a Protective Order
A person is allowed to file their petition for an Order of Protection at a family court. They can do this in the county where the:
- Alleged violence occurred
- Petitioner is living or staying
- Two parties formerly lived together
- Offender lives
Choosing the right place to file the protection order may be confusing, but a seasoned Charleston lawyer could help pinpoint the right family court or decide what to do if the alleged violence occurred in another state.
Granting a Protective Order
A family court has jurisdiction to accept filings for protective orders. After receiving a petition, they must then hold a hearing within twenty-four hours if an emergency exists. The person accusing a defendant of domestic violence will have to show that they endured physical harm or an imminent threat of physical harm. In some situations, they might also reference previous sexual abuse or an expected offense.
If the protective order is granted, the court could impose conditions like:
- A no contact order
- Prohibiting the abuse or threatening of the petitioner
- The payment of temporary spousal support or child support
- An order prohibiting transfer or destruction of personal property
If someone needs help making sure that their protective order includes the elements that they need to stay safe, they should work with our compassionate Charleston attorneys.
Meanwhile, the penalties for violating a protective order are steep and require a strong criminal defense. Thankfully, our team members could protect the rights and integrity of anyone accused of breaching a protective arrangement.
Get Assistance from a Charleston Protective Order Attorney
Whether you need to defend yourself against a protective order or need to seek one against someone else, our skilled legal team could assess your options and handle your case. You have rights that deserve protection, and dedicated legal representation could boost your chances of a positive case outcome.
To speak with a Charleston protective order lawyer and get started on your case, contact our office today.