The Temporary Protective Order Process in Georgia
A Temporary Protective Order (TPO) is a court order that provides immediate protection for individuals who have been subjected to domestic violence, stalking, or harassment. In Georgia, a TPO can be obtained through a criminal case or through a separate civil action. A TPO is designed to provide temporary relief until a final hearing can be held, at which time a permanent protective order may be issued.
Eligibility for a TPO
In Georgia, a TPO can be obtained by individuals who have been subjected to domestic violence, stalking, or harassment. Domestic violence is defined as any behavior that causes physical harm, puts an individual in fear of physical harm, or creates a threatening living environment. Stalking is defined as a pattern of behavior that causes fear or emotional distress. Harassment is defined as repeated acts that are meant to intimidate or annoy an individual.
Filing a TPO
To file a TPO in Georgia, you will need to go to the Superior Court in the county where you reside or where the abuse occurred. If you are in immediate danger, you can go to the nearest police station and ask for a TPO to be issued. You will need to provide the court with a detailed statement that explains the abuse, stalking, or harassment that you have experienced, and you will also need to provide any evidence that you have to support your claim.
Temporary Protective Order Hearing
Once a TPO has been filed, a hearing will be scheduled within 30 days. At the hearing, the judge will hear testimony from both parties and review any evidence that has been submitted. If the judge finds that there is probable cause to believe that you have been subjected to abuse, stalking, or harassment, the judge will issue a TPO. The TPO will remain in effect until a final hearing can be held, at which time a permanent protective order may be issued.
Final Protective Order Hearing
If a TPO has been issued, a final hearing will be scheduled within 60 to 90 days. At the final hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to present evidence and testify. The judge will then make a final determination as to whether a permanent protective order should be issued. If a permanent protective order is issued, it will remain in effect for a period of one year, unless it is extended or modified by the court.
Enforcing a TPO
If the defendant violates the terms of a TPO, the police can arrest the defendant and bring them before the court. If the defendant is found guilty of violating the TPO, they can be sentenced to jail or fined.