Last updated 12/16/2019
Domestic violence is a serious problem across the country. Alabama courts address domestic violence by providing victims 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 call the police if an abuser violates the order. The person accused of abuse will then be arrested, tried for violating the order, and probably sent to jail for a short time, thus hopefully preventing future harm.
The table below details the main aspects of Alabama protection order laws.
||Alabama Code Title 30: Marital and Domestic Relations, Chapters 5: Protection From Abuse Act, 5A: Family Violence Protection Order Enforcement Act, and 5B: Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act
|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 besides 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, his or her minor children, and any other close family or household members (excluding non-romantic or non-intimate co-residents) that may be living with the victim or were also threatened by the abuser due to their relationship with the victim.
|Duration of Order
||The final protection order or consent agreement is for one year or less unless the court expressly orders it for a longer time. The protected party can return to court to request the protection order be amended and extended for another year or more if he or she can show a reason it needs to be extended.
|Penalty for a Violation of Order
- Willfully violating a protection order is a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000.
- A second conviction will be punishable by a minimum of 30 days in jail, which cannot be suspended, in addition to any other penalty or fine.
- A third or subsequent conviction is a Class C felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not more than 10 years or less than 1 year and 1 day, and a fine of up to $15,000.
- Violating the protection order by committing an act of abuse (assault, child abuse, harassment, sexual abuse, stalking, theft, trespassing, unlawful imprisonment, etc.) will be punished as a Class A misdemeanor.
- Additionally, a person can be found in civil contempt of court for not following the order.
|Can Fees Be Waived?
||Yes, if the victim can show that he or she has inadequate funds to pay for the protection order legal costs.
|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.
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 experienced Alabama family law attorney or your local legal aid organization for help requesting one.
Note: Because state laws change constantly, it's important to verify the laws you're researching by conducting your own legal research or contacting a knowledgeable Alabama attorney.
Questions About Protective Orders? An Attorney Can Help
Violating an Alabama protective order is not something to take lightly because you can risk jail time and fines. If you are facing these charges, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney who can compile evidence and mount a solid defense on your behalf. Get started today and contact an Alabama criminal defense attorney in your area.