This is the next post in a series of articles discussing protective orders in Melbourne, Florida. The previous post reviewed the need to seek a TPO when one is being harassed or threatened rather than engage in self-help to address the issue. Doing so is not only the best way to ensure one’s safety, but also may avoid other negative legal ramifications. In this article, we will explain the process involved in presenting a protective order request to the court. An experienced attorney can assist you in navigating the legal process and successfully obtaining an order of protection. If you or a loved one needs assistance, contact our office today to speak with an lawyer.
When a victim of stalking or harassing files a petition for a protective order, the court will do one of three things. It may deny the TPO, grant the temporary order immediately and schedule a future evidentiary hearing, or schedule a hearing to determine if a protective order is appropriate. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether a previously issued TPO should be extended or whether a protective order should be granted in the first place. At the hearing, each side will have the opportunity to present objective evidence to the court either in support of or opposed to the TPO. The plaintiff’s attorney must demonstrate clearly that the defendant is engaged in a pattern of threatening, stalking or harassing behavior that is dangerous to the victim. The defendant, while not required to have counsel present, may elect to do so to present their defense. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge with either grant or extend an existing TPO, dissolve the TPO or modify the existing protective order as needed.
A TPO hearing is different from traditional trial. Normally, neither party will call witnesses to testify, including the victim. The attorneys for the plaintiff and the defendant will be required to quickly present their respective cases directly to the judge. A lawyer’s ability to identify meaningful objective evidence and concisely explain the reasons a TPO is necessary will be essential to successfully obtaining a TPO. Using evidence such as text messages, phone records, security footage, etc., counsel will communicate effectively with the judge on your behalf. For these reasons, it is imperative to retain an experienced lawyer to represent your interests.
If you are the victim of harassment, stalking or other threatening behavior and in need of a protective order, contact our firm today to speak with a Melbourne attorney. Our firm also serves clients in the cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.