There are several ways that Tennessee addresses allegations of domestic violence. The first is by creating criminal laws that allow for the prosecution of those who physically, emotionally or sexually abuse their family members, intimate partners or roommates. The second is by allowing alleged victims to seek a protection order from the courts if they fear for their safety.
If someone that you live with or have a relationship with has accused you of domestic violence, you will probably worry about what those accusations mean for your future. If they choose not to prosecute you but instead ask the courts for a protection order, what will that mean for you?
You may need to go to court to fight against the protection order
The courts usually hold a hearing when someone asks for a protection order. They will make a claim about their experiences and possibly provide evidence to the judge hearing the case. As the person accused of wrongdoing, you may have the right to share your side of the situation with the courts.
Demonstrating that things did not occur the way the other party describes or showing that you weren’t even present at the time of the alleged offense could help you avoid becoming the subject of a protection order. However, the possibility exists for the courts to approve the order even if you try to show that it is unnecessary.
What does a protection order mean for you if the courts grant it?
The most obvious consequence of someone having a protective order against you is that you likely cannot continue your relationship with that person. Depending on your circumstances, that might mean that you need to find someplace else to live. Sometimes, it could affect where you work.
Protective orders usually restrict your right to communicate with the other party, both in person and digitally. If you show up at their house or job, if you call them or if you reach out on social media, you might be in violation of the protection order, which could lead to misdemeanor criminal charges. Even having someone try to communicate with the other person on your behalf could lead to claims that you violated the order.
There could be other consequences of a protective order as well. It might help someone convince the state to pursue assault charges or similar charges against you. A protective order could also affect a divorce or custody proceedings with an unmarried romantic partner with whom you share children. Understanding these consequences can help you decide how to respond to notice about a possible order of protection.