When emotions are running high, it is easy for a person to find themselves charged with domestic violence. Domestic violence petitions are brought in Family Court, if Family Court exists in that county. If not, they are heard in District Court.
Domestic Violence petitions can result in the entry of an Emergency Protective Order, often called an “EPO”, from the Family Court. An EPO can be filed by family members, members of an unmarried couple, a parent on behalf of their child, or any other person living in the same household as a child if the child is the alleged victim.
A similar order, known as an EInterpersonal Protective Order (IPO), can be filed by any victim of dating violence, stalking or sexual assault, regardless of whether the relationship is past or present. If the Court finds that domestic violence occurred, an order can be entered that could last up to three years.
It can be easy to shrug off domestic violence allegations as an argument that simply got carried away, but make no mistake, a criminal conviction will make your life difficult. EPOs and IPOs can:
Restrict contact between the offender and their victim
Restrict the offender’s ability to be in specific places
Award temporary custody of children
Automatically result in the surrender of firearms
In addition, you may experience ongoing impacts of a domestic violence charge such as loss of employment and disqualification of certain loans.
Put strong legal counsel on your side if you are facing domestic violence or assault charges. At Hoffman Walker & Knauf, our lawyers will work to potentially dismiss an EPO or IPO in favor of a civil restraining order. We are also ready to tell your side of the story in court, if necessary.