Experienced Representation in Indiana

Indiana Protective Order Attorney

When emotions run high between people, things can escalate quickly. The law provides a measure of protection in cases like these in the form of a civil protective order (sometimes called a restraining order).

If you feel threatened by someone or have been the victim of physical violence and need for protection, or if someone is seeking a protection order against you, an Indiana protective order attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help. With former deputy prosecutors on your team, you’ll be well armed to protect yourself.

Contact an Indianapolis protective order lawyer from our team right away! Call our attorneys at (317) 202-1163.

An Indiana Protective Order Attorney Explains the Basics

The Indiana Civil Protection Order Act (ICPOA), the law on protective orders, changed slightly in 2019. It has long been available to protect victims of threatened and actual violence while ensuring the rights of the accused through procedural safeguards. Understanding the bases for a protective order and how the protective order process works is key to ensuring you are protected. The best way to do that is to work with an experienced Indiana protective order attorney, like those found at Keffer Hirschauer LLP.

Indiana Protective Order Basics

There are several types of orders that protect alleged victims from abuse or violence:

Any of these orders may be appropriate and effective in protecting a victim of violence, but some of them apply to other situations as well. The Indiana Civil Protection Order Act, found at Indiana Code chapter 34-26-5, is focused on the protection and safety of victims and preventing future violence. The Act sets out the procedure and requirements for obtaining a protective order and assuring the protection of victims.

Under the ICPOA, the person who seeks a protective order is the petitioner and can include the victim of:

The respondent is the person against whom the protective order is filed. This person may be one of the following:

  • A family or household member of the petitioner
  • A person who is alleged to have threatened or caused physical harm such as by battery, stalking, harassment, or the commission of a sex offense against the petitioner
  • A person who is alleged to have, without justification, threatened or caused harm to a vertebrate animal of the petitioner, such as by abuse, torture, mutilation, or death, in order to threaten, intimidate, coerce, harass, or terrorize a family member

A family or household member under the Act can include:

  • A current or former spouse
  • A person who currently dates or has dated the petitioner
  • A person with whom the petitioner has engaged in sexual relations
  • Someone who shares a child with the petitioner
  • A relative by blood, adoption, or marriage, including through a current or former marriage
  • A current or former guardian, ward, custodian, foster parent, or other similar relationship

Filing a Protective Order Petition

Either an alleged victim, or the victim’s parent or guardian if a minor or incompetent, may file a petition for a protective order, or an Indiana protective order attorney can file on the victim’s behalf. No matter who files it, the petitioner must explain his or her relationship to the respondent. The petition must also include details of the alleged violence, including the following:

  • Dates the violence or threats occurred
  • Descriptions of violent or threatening incidents
  • Names of witnesses
  • Case names and numbers of any related cases between the petitioner and respondent

The Protection Order Committee of the Indiana Office of Court Services advises the Indiana Office of Court Services regarding forms for protection order proceedings. While the forms seem straightforward, non-lawyers often miss subtle requirements regarding the depth and type of information needed for a court to find merit in a petition for a protective order. As a result, many wisely engage an Indiana protective order attorney to help complete and file the petition, any associated documentation, and accompany them to court for any hearing on their petition. Attorneys are also well-versed in the electronic filing system used by many courts across the state, which makes filing almost instantaneous and provides an immediate connection between a filed protective order and the protective order registry (POR).

Defending against Protective Order Allegations

There are necessarily two sides to a protective order. If you’ve been falsely accused in a protective order petition or a protective order petition has been entered against you, Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help protect your rights. With former prosecutors on your team, you receive a thorough evaluation of your options and the possibility of preventing, lifting, or removing a protective order.

A protective order can be costly in a variety of ways. In terms of money, it can require you to pay fees, and it can also restrict you from doing many things:

  • Living in the family home
  • Going to work if the alleged victim works at the same place
  • Possessing a firearm
  • Possessing the family pet

Some individuals have even petitioned for a protective order, with or without basis, as part of a strategy in a divorce or other case. An Indiana protective order attorney knows it is an urgent matter to get a protective order lifted.

Under Indiana Code chapter 35-38-9, expungement of an Indiana protective order is possible if you are eligible for criminal expungement. An expungement attorney can help you expunge protective orders that fall in the following categories:

  • The petition for a protection order was dismissed before a court hearing
  • The protection order was denied after a court hearing
  • The petitioner did not appear for a court hearing
  • The protection order was reversed or vacated on appeal

The Indiana expungement and record sealing attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can look at your situation and see if expungement is an option for you.

The Indiana Protection Order Registry

The Indiana Protection Order Registry, commonly called the Protective Order Registry, is a result of cooperation between the Indiana Supreme Court, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, and the Indiana State Police. The Indiana protective order registry links protective orders issued by courts with the Indiana State Police's Indiana Data and Communication System (IDACS) and the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC). All courts are required to participate in the POR.

The Protection Order Registry offers benefits today that victims in prior years did not have. The submission and evaluation of all forms online electronically helps to eliminate human error. Additionally, the POR offers:

  • Ready access of petitions to the court for review and decision
  • Immediate electronic transmission of approved protective orders to law enforcement throughout the state
  • Ready and constant access by law enforcement to the protective order database 24/7, even in the field

Additionally, the POR transmits IDACS and NCIC so the protective order is available to law enforcement wherever the victim goes. This allows better protection of victims and permits quicker response time by law enforcement.

The POR is a searchable public database. An online search conducted using a respondent’s name or case number will find any protective order or no-contact order filed in Indiana courts under that respondent’s name or case number. This protective order registry online search system is different than the online search system used for cases, which is found at mycase.in.gov.

The Protection Order Process in Indiana

When a petition is filed, a judge can do one of two things:

A hearing is required in some circumstances, such as when the petition adequately alleges harassment alone or involves an eviction or parenting time arrangements.

Protective orders may start as forms, but they are customizable to the circumstances. A judge can tailor the protection order to prohibit or require certain behavior. Without a hearing, a protective order might include any of the following:

  • The respondent is prohibited from committing, or threatening to commit, acts of domestic violence or family violence, stalking, or sex offenses against the petitioner or the petitioner’s family or household members
  • The respondent cannot harass, annoy, phone, contact, or communicate with the petitioner
  • The respondent must stay away from the petitioner’s home, school, or workplace
  • The respondent must stay away from where the petitioner’s family or household members regularly go

A judge can also order one of the following immediately, but then a hearing must be held within 30 days:

  • The respondent is evicted from the petitioner’s home
  • The respondent must give possession and use of a shared home, vehicle, or personal items (including an animal) to the petitioner
  • The respondent cannot take action against an animal

Finally, the court must hold a hearing before it can order certain things:

  • A protection order that affects parenting time
  • An order to pay attorney fees, rent or mortgage payments, child support or maintenance, medical expenses, or GPS tracking device costs
  • An order prohibiting a respondent from possessing firearms, ammunition, or deadly weapons, or ordering the surrender of one

Regardless of the contents, an Indiana protection order is effective for two years unless a different duration is stated in the order.

Protective Orders Related to Criminal Allegations

Protective orders are sought for many reasons, one of which is to be protected from sex offenses. A sex offense means one of the following crimes under Indiana Code chapter 35-42-4:

Protective orders can be based on an allegation of other criminal offenses, too, like stalking or harassment. The respondent need not have been criminally charged or convicted for the court to enter an Indiana protective order based on a sex offense. But in the case of some offenses, the law imposes additional requirements on how and where a petitioner may file.

Find an Indiana Protective Order Attorney to Meet Your Specific Situation

Going to court regarding a protection order can be accomplished without the help of an attorney, but an Indiana protective order attorney understands the law and the court to avoid pitfalls and safeguard your rights. Keffer Hirschauer LLP attorneys know both sides and include former prosecutors.

For a free consultation about obtaining or defending against an order of protection, call us at (317) 202-1163 or use our online contact form to get the help you need today.

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