If you're the victim of stalking or domestic violence, it's wise to get an order of protection. Also known as a protective order or a restraining order, these can be very helpful in preventing your abuser from continuing to hurt you.
Continue reading for a brief summary of protective orders laws in Delaware.
Protective Orders Laws
Protective orders are court-ordered documents that require the person named in the order to stay a certain distance away from the person seeking the order. They also prohibit abusers from other types of conduct, as well. Protective orders are used to protect the victims of a variety of types of abuse, including stalking.
|Tit. 10 § 1041, et seq.
|Activity Addressed by Order
|Orders address many types of activities. The following are examples of the activities that orders address:
- Prohibiting the abuser's contact with their victim
- Excluding an abuser from a dwelling
- Temporary custody of children
- Visitation rights
- Prohibiting use and/or possession of firearms
- Prohibiting disposal of property
- Awarding monetary compensation to the victim
- That the abuser undergo therapy
- Prohibiting acts of domestic violence and/or stalking
|Duration of Order
- Ex parte order: maximum of 30 days.
- General order:
- The order may last for up to two years.
- The person with the order can request that a court extend the order at any time, but they must do so no later than 30 days before the expiration of the order.
|Penalty for a Violation of Order
|If an abuser violates a protective order, they may be found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor or Class F Felony. Whether they are found guilty of one or the other depends on a variety of factors. For either the misdemeanor or the felony, they may be imprisoned or fined or both.
|Who May Apply for Order
|The following people are examples of those eligible for protective orders under Delaware law:
- Family members of a victim
- Former spouses of an abuser
- A person living with an abuser, regardless of whether they have a child or children with the abuser
- A person living separately from their abuser with whom they have a child or children
- A person in a dating relationship with an abuser
|Can Fees Be Waived?
|There are no fees for filing for an order.
|Order Transmission to Law Enforcement
|The order is entered into the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System (DCJIS) on or before the next business day after the order is granted. A copy is also sent to the Delaware law enforcement agency where the victim resides and/or wherever the abuse took place.
|Civil Liability for Violation of Order
The curbing of domestic violence is a top priority in Delaware, and survivors of domestic violence (as well as those that feel threatened) have numerous options to protect themselves from further harassment and abuse. Although protection orders are not a perfect deterrent to every harmful scenario, they can provide a victim with some criminal recourse if an abuser violates an order.
Delaware has emergency protection orders, which are put in place in order to give the threatened person more time to request a longer-term order. Also, if you have a valid protection order issued by one state, federal protection order law requires other states to honor and enforce that order.
Consider Contacting an Attorney for More Help!
The process of obtaining and enforcing a protective order can seem complicated and difficult. If you would like legal assistance, you can contact a Delaware domestic violence attorney in your area to discuss your case. For more information on this topic, you can also visit FindLaw's Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders section.