Not only can a domestic violence arrest lead to serious criminal charges and penalties such as jail or prison time, but it can also result in being the subject of a restraining order. Commonly known as a protection from abuse (PFA) order in Alabama, this is a civil order that prevents an allegedly abusive family or household member from seeing or contacting an alleged victim and their loved ones.
An alleged victim can file for a PFA order if he/she believes he/she is in imminent danger of a crime (e.g. assault, harassment, stalking, criminal trespass, etc.) being committed by a family or household member. There are two types of PFA orders in Alabama: emergency/temporary (ex parte) PFA orders and final PFA orders.
Temporary PFA orders are awarded if a judge believes an alleged victim needs it to protect himself/herself and his/her children from imminent danger. Furthermore, a person can obtain an emergency PFA order in order to gain legal protections without having to go to court.
An emergency PFA order lasts until the next court hearing to file a final PFA order, which typically occurs within 10 days. However, if a judge denies an emergency PFA order request, the alleged victim may still file a petition for a final PFA order and wait until the full court hearing to present his/her case.
At the full court hearing where a final PFA order can be issued, both sides have an opportunity to present evidence to a judge. Final PFA orders are permanent and have no expiration date.
Violating a PFA order in Alabama is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum one-year prison term and a fine not exceeding $6,000. A second violation carries a continuous jail sentence of 48 hours, along with other serious criminal penalties of a Class A misdemeanor, while a third or subsequent offense may result in a minimum prison term of 30 days.
If you have been accused of domestic violence or violating a restraining order in Birmingham, contact Tidwell Law Group, LLC today at (205) 536-7770 and schedule a free consultation.