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Somerset Protective Orders

An order of protection is an order that a person can request from the court which prohibits a specific individual from contacting him or her. Protective orders are rather easy to obtain as the law provides that an individual may obtain a temporary protective order from the Commissioner’s Office, which is open 24 hours a day. Therefore, an individual may obtain a protective order at any time of the day or night, regardless of whether or not the court is open.

When facing, or possibly facing, a protective order, it is important for a person to contact a Somerset stalking attorney to better understand the circumstances of their case and to avoid additional charges.

Compared to Peace Orders

It is important to note that there is a difference between protective orders and peace orders. A protective order can only be granted to an alleged victim who is seeking protection from a spouse or partner with whom he or she has been residing and with whom he or she has a recent romantic relationship. Additionally, protective orders may be granted against specific family members in certain situations.

A peace order, on the other hand, may be granted to an alleged victim who is seeking to have no contact  with another individual with whom he or she does not have or has not had a romantic relationship. In this way, peace orders may be granted to establish protection against an individual who is being bothersome, harassing, or threatening, regardless of his or her relationship to the alleged victim.

After a Harassment Conviction

If a person is convicted of harassment, circumstances of whether a person may face a protective order will vary depending upon the facts of the individual case. For example, if the alleged victim secured a peace order because he or she was bothered, harassed, or threatened by another individual, and that individual continues to have contact with the alleged victim, he or she will face both harassment charges and charges related to the violation of the peace order. However, the reverse is also true. If an individual is convicted of harassment, it is also quite possible that the alleged victim could also seek and secure a protective order against that individual.

Additionally, a victim could seek both of these charges at the same time; the alleged victim could take out criminal charges for harassment while concurrently petitioning the court to secure a protective order.

Also, it is important to remember that often times, when a defendant has been charged with assault or harassment, a condition of his or her pre-trial release will probably include a no-contact provision.  If the defendant were to have contact with the alleged victim, the State can petition the court to revoke the defendant’s pre-trial release and have the defendant sit in jail until the court date.

In this way, there are many different scenarios in which a person convicted of harassment charges could face an order of protection. However, it is also important for a defendant to understand that, if he or she were convicted of stalking or harassment, he or she could anticipate that any probation ordered by a judge would include a condition requiring that he or she not have any further contact with the alleged victim. In such circumstances, there would not be a separate peace order or protective order. The judge could, on his or her own initiative and as a condition of probation, order that the defendant not have any further contact with the alleged victim. If a judge does implement such conditions, and the defendant continues to contact the alleged victim, he or she would be violating a condition of probation and may be required to return to court for a violation of probation hearing, which could possibly result in revoked probation. If the defendant’s probation is revoked, he or she will likely be required to serve the original, suspended sentence.