From the Office of Chris Gaal, Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney
A Protective Order requires one or more individuals (“respondents”) over the age of 18 to refrain from directly or indirectly contacting the petitioner and from threatening, abusing or harassing any member of the petitioner's household. Protective Orders enable law enforcement agencies to intervene at the earliest opportunity when threatening, harassing or otherwise violent behavior occurs. Violations of a Protective Order should be reported to law enforcement. If the police officer determines that there is probable cause that the order has been violated, the respondent will be arrested on a misdemeanor charge of invasion of privacy. If the respondent has previously been convicted of invasion of privacy, he will be arrested on a D felony. If the violation consists of battery or intimidation, stalking or trespass, additional criminal charges may be filed. A Protective Order is required to include the following language: “Violation of this order is punishable by confinement in jail, prison, and/or a fine. If so ordered by the Court, the respondent is forbidden to enter or stay at the petitioner’s residence, even if invited to do so by the petitioner or any other person. In no event is the order for protection voided.”
The judge can create various exceptions, or modifications, as conditions of the Protective Order – such as allowing contact for the purpose of child support or visitation. A judge can also order a number of conditions as part of the Protective Order – such as ordering a respondent to vacate a residence, pay child support, or not to possess firearms.
Under Indiana law, Protective Orders are available for 1) victims of family or domestic violence, 2) stalking, or 3) sex offenses. If you fall within one of these categories, you can petition for a Protective Order in the county where the petitioner currently or temporarily resides, the county where the respondent resides, or the county where an offense occurred. If a divorce is pending, the application for the Protective Order should be applied for in the court with jurisdiction over the divorce case. In Monroe County you can apply for a Protective Order in the Clerk’s Office in the Justice Building between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The Clerk’s Office has Protective Order forms available and there is no filing fee.
For a judge to approve a Protective Order, the petitioner must allege that the respondent has attempted to cause, threatened to cause, or is causing physical harm to the petitioner, or that the respondent is actually placing the petitioner in fear of physical harm. Protective Orders are enforceable after they have been served on the respondent. Once a petition for a Protective Order is filed, the court usually sets the matter for a hearing. The petitioner (victim) must appear in court on the date set by the Court. The respondent will also be ordered to appear; however, since the respondent did not request the Protective Order if the respondent does not choose to appear, the Court will typically proceed without them. If the respondent waives their right to appear, the respondent will generally not be given another opportunity and the petition is generally granted as requested by the petitioner.
The duration of a Protective Order is usually two years. However, the judge has the discretion to issue a Protective Order for as little time or as much time as determined appropriate. The petitioner can renew the Protective Order near the time that the order is scheduled to expire. A Protective Order may only be renewed one time. After the one renewal, the petitioner may reapply for a new Protective Order.
The Prosecutor’s office does not assist with Protective Orders. Protective Orders are civil and the Prosecutor’s office only deals with criminal matters. If you need help filing a Protective Order you may contact the Protective Order Project (855-4800, email@example.com, www.law.indiana.edu/pop) or Middle Way House (336-0846, http://www.middlewayhouse.org/).
NO CONTACT ORDERS:
If you are a victim in a pending criminal prosecution, you can request a No Contact Order from the Prosecutor’s Office. A No Contact Order is typically issued at the initial hearing (or before) and is immediately enforceable without requiring the victim to file a petition or appear at a hearing. It is an order in a pending criminal case following an arrest that the prosecutor oversees, applies to violent crimes, and is enforceable for the duration of criminal proceedings. Violation of a No Contact Order is grounds for revocation of the defendant’s bond thus causing the defendant to go back to jail. In addition, violation of a No Contact Order may also be punished by filing a criminal charge of invasion of privacy.
You can go to the Prosecutor’s Office in Room 211 of the Justice Building between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. or call 349-2670. If you are not a victim in a pending criminal case, the Prosecutor’s Office cannot get a No Contact Order.
Resolving a Conflict
If you do not qualify for either a Protective Order or a No Contact Order, but you still need help resolving a conflict, you may contact the Community Justice and Mediation Center at 336-8677.
Instructions For Getting a Protective Order
Protective Order Petition Form