Domestic violence is a serious problem across the country. Alabama courts address domestic violence by providing victims with a legal way to prevent further abuse. Although a protection order is, in a literal sense, nothing but a piece of paper, it provides the protected person the ability to have a record within the law enforcement officers, alerting responding officers of the order. This can then lead to arrests and civil and/or criminal contempt, or other criminal charges for the violation.
This article provides a brief overview of protective order laws in the state of Alabama.
Alabama Protective Orders: At a Glance
The table below details the main aspects of Alabama protection order laws.
||Title 13a, Chapter 6, Article 7a et seq. of the Alabama Code
|Activity Addressed by Protection Order
||The court can include any of the following provisions, as needed, in a protection order:
- Prohibit the abuser from threatening or abusing the victim and any minor children or family or household members.
- Restrict the abuser from harassing communication with the victim and any minor children
- Order the abuser to stay away from the home, school, and/or work of the victim and any children
- Award temporary custody of any children under 18 of the two parties or, after a hearing, specify visitation for any minor children and award temporary child support
- Prohibit the abuser from interfering with the victim whether accompanied by police or not, to remove his or her children from the abuser
- Stop the abuser from removing the kids when legally authorized to have custody or visitation
- Require that the abuser move out of the home shared with the victim, with or without a police stand-by or escort
- Enjoin the abuser from selling or hiding property mutually owned or leased with the victim
- Require the abuser to pay the victim's attorney's fees and court costs
- Evict the abuser from the rented household or restore possession to the victim
- Give the victim temporary possession of the abuser's vehicle if he or she owns no other vehicle, has no transportation, and the abuser has access to more than one vehicle or means of transportation
|Who Can Apply for an Order?
||An adult for themselves or for another person who is prevented by physical or mental incapacities or on behalf of minor children
|Who's Protected by the Order?
||The order protects the victim and their minor children
|Duration of Order
||Any final protection order is of permanent duration unless otherwise specified or modified by a subsequent court order
|Penalty for a Violation of Order
- Committed if the person knowingly commits any act prohibited by a domestic violence protection order or willfully fails to abide by any term of a domestic violence protection order
- Violation is a Class A misdemeanor
- A second conviction for the violation of a domestic violence protection order, in addition to any other penalty or fine, will be punishable by 30 days imprisonment which may not be suspended
- A third or subsequent violation is a Class C felony
|Can Fees Be Waived?
||No court costs and fees shall be assessed for the filing and service of a petition for a protection order, for the issuance or registration of a protection order, or for the issuance of a witness subpoena under this chapter. Costs and fees may be assessed against the defendant at the discretion of the court
|Order Transmission to Law Enforcement
||A copy of the protection order is issued to law enforcement officials with jurisdiction to enforce the order or agreement; Also, a protection order is effective even if the victim moves to a new state because all states will enforce valid protection orders from any other state
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Questions About Protective Orders? An Attorney Can Help
If your spouse, partner, or lover is hurting you, please reach out to the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-650-6522 for help. If you've been abused and need a protection order, contact an Alabama domestic violence attorney for help when you're ready.