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What happens when an ex violates a protective order?

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2024 | Family Law |

Sadly, Louisiana continues to rank high in cases of domestic violence, according to recent reporting by KTBS 3. For that reason, the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence is pushing the state government for $15 million in funding to boost resources for sufferers of such abuse.

One legal option available to those who face this threat is obtaining a protective order. What consequences does a person face for violating this order?

The types of protective orders

The purpose of a protective order is to prevent further harm by prohibiting an abuser from contacting the target of their abuse, coming near the person’s home or visiting that one’s workplace. In Louisiana, individuals can obtain several types of protective orders, including:

  • Emergency Protective Order: A court can grant this temporary order when there is an immediate danger and the court is not in session. It lasts for seven days or until the court is in session again.
  • Temporary Restraining Order: This short-term order stays in effect until the full hearing. The court can issue this order even if the accused is not present.
  • Protective Order: A court issues a longer-term order after conducting a full hearing with both parties present and providing evidence of abuse. This order can last up to 18 months and is extendable.
  • Permanent Protective Order: The court grants this type of order with no expiration date, typically in instances of severe or repeated abuse.

These all serve the vital purpose of providing legal protection to individuals who require a sense of safety and security from an abuser, including an ex-spouse.

The consequences of violating a protective order

Violating a protective order brings serious legal consequences. For first-time offenders, the law stipulates a fine of up to $500, imprisonment for up to six months or both. Additionally, the offender may be subject to mandatory participation in programs such as family violence intervention, anger management or substance abuse treatment.

If a person repeatedly violates the protective order, the repercussions escalate. A second offense within seven years of the first can result in imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.

A third or subsequent offense within seven years is a felony and may lead to imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of up to $2,000. Moreover, any violation of a protective order that results in bodily injury to the protected individual could lead to a felony charge, irrespective of the number of previous offenses.

These stringent penalties underscore the seriousness with which Louisiana law treats the violation of protective orders. Government and law enforcement officials support these measures in a commitment to safeguarding vulnerable individuals from harm.