Filing a Restraining Order in Indianapolis
Protection orders, also known as restraining orders or orders of protection, are legal documents issued by a court that aims to protect individuals from domestic violence, harassment, stalking, or sex offenses. It provides specific instructions and prohibitions to the person against whom the order is issued, known as the respondent. For those who would like to file a restraining order in Indianapolis, the process is rather straightforward. However, an experienced Indianapolis protective order attorney can provide valuable assistance, especially when it comes to preparing the paperwork, ensuring compliance, and representing the petitioner in court.
If you’d like to speak with an attorney today, contact the Indianapolis law office of Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our Indiana family law attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to provide you with effective guidance and representation throughout the Indiana protection order process. Ready to talk to an attorney? Call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Overview of Protection Orders in Indiana
The laws governing restraining orders in Indianapolis can be found in Indiana Code 34-26-5, otherwise known as the Indiana Civil Protection Order Act. This chapter of Indiana law states that protection orders are intended to promote the protection and safety of all victims of domestic or family violence, as well as all victims of harassment, in a fair, prompt, and effective manner.
Generally, when someone (the petitioner) files a restraining order in Indianapolis, they’re requesting that the court order the other person (the respondent) to stop or refrain from committing a certain behavior. In Indiana, the respondent must be a:
- family or household member who commits an act of domestic or family violence; or
- person who has committed stalking, per the Indiana stalking laws, or a sex crime under Indiana Code 35-42-4 against the petitioner
- person who has committed repeated acts of harassment against the petitioner
In addition, a parent, guardian, or representative can file a petition for an order of protection on behalf of a minor against a:
- family member or other resident of the home who commits domestic violence
- person who has stalked or committed a sex offense against the child
- person who engaged in conduct involving repeated or continuing contact with a minor intended to prepare or condition the minor for sexual activity
If granted, an Indiana protective order will place a variety of restrictions and requirements on the respondent, aimed at protecting the petitioner. Each granted order is unique to the circumstances and facts of the matter at hand. The most common restriction is proximity, meaning the protection order will prohibit the respondent from going near the petitioner. However, given the context of the situation, it could also require the respondent to do certain things like pay Indiana child support, vacate a shared home, or surrender any firearms that they may own. On the flip side, some protection orders may contain provisions that allow for some contact between the respondent and the petitioner. This often happens when the two parties must interact at parenting time exchanges or when discussing parenting issues related to their child.
Indiana Protection Order Violations
When a petitioner’s request for a restraining order in Indianapolis is granted, the respondent must comply with all conditions of the order or they’ll risk incurring significant penalties if found in violation. The most common criminal charge placed on individuals who violate a protection order is “Invasion of Privacy.” As stated in Indiana Code 35-46-1-15.1 this offense is a Class A misdemeanor in Indiana and carries a potential sentence of up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000. Furthermore, if the respondent has a prior conviction for violating a protection order, they could be charged with a Level 6 felony, which carries a potential sentence of six months to two and half year’s imprisonment with a fine of up to $10,000.
In situations where the petitioner can clearly show that the respondent intentionally violated the order, the court may find them in contempt and issue a warrant to bring the defendant to court for an explanation. If the court is not satisfied with the respondent’s explanation, they may impose punishments to coerce the respondent into compliance. This could include requiring the respondent to post bond to avoid jail time and stipulating that the bond be forfeited if any additional violations occur.
Finally, there are some instances where a respondent’s behavior constitutes both a violation of the restraining order in Indianapolis, as well as a criminal offense. This often occurs when the respondent is harassing the petitioner on a repeated basis with the intention of causing them to feel intimidated, afraid, terrorized, or threatened, which can be considered criminal stalking in Indiana, a Level 6 felony.
How to File a Restraining Order in Indianapolis
If you are a victim of a sex crime, family or domestic violence, harassment, or stalking and would like to file a restraining order against another person, it would be best to work alongside an experienced protective order attorney in Indianapolis who understands what’s required to provide you with optimal safety. The former deputy prosecutors at Keffer Hirschauer LLP have handled dozens of protection order filings and can help evaluate every legal avenue available to protect you. To speak with an Indianapolis attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Generally, the process of filing a restraining order in Indianapolis begins with the petitioner gathering all necessary information about the respondent and the context of the situation. This may include relevant information and evidence about the incident(s) at hand, including photographs, messages, doctor’s notes, and witness statements.
Once the petitioner has compiled all of this, they’ll proceed to visit the county clerk’s office or the clerk’s website where they’ll be able to obtain the appropriate forms required to file a protection order. These forms are comprehensive and complex and often require the petitioner to include detailed information about the incidents and parties involved, as well as provide any relevant supporting documentation or evidence. Given this, it’s often recommended that the petitioner complete help of a skilled attorney.
After the petitioner has completed the forms, they will either file them at the county clerk’s office or online. From here, the court may review the petition and, if granted, issue a temporary ex parte order, which provides the petitioner with immediate protection until a hearing can be held. Then, the respondent must be served (typically by a law enforcement officer or a process server) with a copy of the protection order. If the respondent is served with an ex parte order, they have 30 days from the time of being served to request a hearing.
At the hearing, both parties will have the chance to present their case before the court. Given this, it’s vital that a petitioner prepare for and attend the hearing. Furthermore, if there are any witnesses to the respondent’s conduct, they must also be present at the hearing.
The Importance of Working with a Protection Order Attorney
While everyone has the right to file a petition and go to court without an attorney, it’s often best to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law or domestic violence to guide you through the process. This will better ensure your rights are protected, and help you prepare for the court proceedings.
For most, the biggest benefit of working with an Indiana restraining order attorney is that they can help you better understand the legal process behind protection orders and whether you’re eligible to file a protection order. They can also assist in explaining your rights and the potential outcomes given your unique situation. In addition, a skilled attorney can work alongside you to gather and organize relevant evidence, such as documentation, witness statements, or other supporting materials, to strengthen your case.
Another major reason why petitioners choose to work with an attorney is that the paperwork for filing a petition for a protection order in Indiana can be tedious and complex. However, an experienced attorney often understands these documents quite well and can ably assist a petitioner in preparing and filing the necessary documents in an accurate, compliant, and timely manner.
Finally, the main reason why it’s important to work with an attorney when filing a petition for a protection order is that they can represent you in court. As your attorney, they can present your case, cross-examine witnesses and argue on your behalf to seek the issuance of a permanent protection order.
Need Help Filing a Restraining Order in Indianapolis?
If you’re in a place where you feel that you need protection from someone, do not hesitate to contact the Indianapolis attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. We have a strong understanding of the laws and processes governing restraining orders in Indianapolis and can help you gain the protection you need at this time. To speak with one of our Indiana protection order attorneys today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
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