Protective orders are court injunctions that prohibit an individual from engaging in behavior or actions that another person might take as threatening or with an intent to harm them. When a person files a motion in court against another person to get them to stay away or not engage in certain behaviors, the court issues an order that authorizes law enforcement to take action whenever that person feels threatened.
Alabama domestic violence protection orders are also called protection from abuse (PFA) orders, and anyone who is: currently or formerly related by marriage or common law marriage; having a child in common; in a dating relationship; or another household member, may file a petition against the alleged abuser. Once the protection order is in place, it can restrict or prohibit any number of activities of the person accused, who may be barred from entering the home, contacting their spouse, or seeing the children. Violating a PFA can lead to heightened punitive measures, however.
Types of PFAs in Alabama
There are two kinds of PFA orders available:
- Ex parte or emergency protection
- Final protection
In an emergency order, the alleged abuser must cease actions such as threatening behavior, harassment, or stalking, and no contact in the home, work, or school. The alleged victim may receive temporary custody of the children and other personal items, such as a shared car.
A permanent PFA can permanently evict the alleged abuser from the home, force them to pay child or spousal support, and allow or bar visitation with children.
Penalties for violating a PFA
If the accused abuser violates a protection order, in Alabama the penalties can include:
- Misdemeanor charges on a first violation and possibly one year in jail with fines of up to $6,000.
- Felony charges for an order three times or more, with prison sentencing of up to 10 years and fines up as much as $15,000.
While the terms of a protection order can seem onerous, especially if the individual can no longer have access to their car, the home, or their family, it is far worse to let emotions lead you to violate the terms of a PFA. For Mobile residents, having a strong legal advocate in your corner can make all the difference, and make it possible to fight for your rights and defend yourself against unjust charges.