The ultimate intersection of family law and criminal law arises when there is violence between family members because it can simultaneously result in a criminal case and a divorce, custody or other family law case. It is important to seek representation from an experienced domestic violence attorney that will aggressively represent your interests.
The first legal proceeding to usually arise out of domestic violence, or spousal abuse in Oregon, is a restraining order. This order prevents any contact from one party towards another party and sometimes two partners end up getting separate restraining orders against each other prohibiting either one from contacting the other. These orders have harsh consequences. Police must automatically arrest someone who they suspect of violating a restraining order and the person violating that order can also be charged with a crime that carries the potential punishment of jail. These orders can greatly restrain one’s liberty. Frequently, restraining order prohibit someone from owning or possessing a firearm and affect a parent’s right to the custody, care and control of their child.
Restraining orders are first obtained without any notice to the other party, which means that the judge issuing the order only hears one side of the case. Fortunately, one subject to the order can request a hearing to contest the issuance of the order or to contest parts of the order relating to custody, parenting time, firearm restrictions and residential arrangements. If you don’t request a hearing within 30 days of receiving the order, the order will be confirmed automatically and remain in effect for one year. Although certain provisions can still be modified, your right to contest the issuance of the order expires after that 30 days. Again, seeking the help of a domestic violence lawyer early in your case can be critical.
At a hearing the court needs to determine whether the restrained party (“Respondent”) has abused the person who sought the restraining order (“Petitioner”). The Petitioner and Respondent must also be family or household members or be involved in a sexually intimate relationship. If the court finds that the Respondent did abuse the Petitioner and that the Respondent poses an imminent danger of further abuse, then the court will uphold the restraining order. If the court does not find that all of these things are true, they will terminate the restraining order.
Restraining orders are good for one year from the date they are issued. They must be renewed by the end of that year or they will lapse. Henry LeSueur has helped clients obtain and object to restraining orders as well as represented clients in hearings to renew restraining orders at the end of the year. If you need representation relating to a FAPA restraining order or an elder abuse or stalking order please call The LeSueur Law Firm for more information.