Restraining Orders

Kentucky emergency protective orders (EPO) and domestic violence orders (DVO) are intended to protect from harm a family member or someone with whom you have a relationship. If such an order is in place and there is probable cause you violated it, you may be arrested. Both the accuser and the accused have rights that are considered in these situations. We help those accused of violating these orders to make sure their legal rights, freedom and liberties are protected.

What are Kentucky restraining orders?

A restraining order is signed by a judge and orders the accused to stop abusing the claimed victim or face serious legal consequences.  An immediate, temporary order created outside the presence of the accused is an EPO and a final, long-term order is a domestic violence order, DVO.

Under state law “domestic violence and abuse” is one or more of the following actions between “family members” or “members of an unmarried couple”:

  • Physical injury, serious or not
  • Sexual abuse
  • Assault
  • Stalking
  • Putting someone in fear of immediate physical injury, serious physical injury, sexual abuse or assault (threatening).

A judge can create an EPO without notice to the accused if he or she feels there’s an immediate and present danger of domestic violence and abuse.

  • If the EPO is granted, the accused is notified that the order exists and the date and time of a hearing for a DVO.
  • The EPO can’t be enforced until it has reached the abuser or until the accused has been told by law enforcement or by the court about its existence and its terms.

A DVO can be issued only after a full court hearing where both parties tell their sides of the story to a judge.

  • If the judge believes domestic violence or abuse occurred and may be repeated, a DVO can be ordered.
  • The alleged victim needs to attend that hearing or the EPO may expire and the process would need to start over.

A DVO is also ineffective and unenforceable until it’s served on the accused or until the accused is told by law enforcement or by the court of its existence and terms.  A DVO may last for up to three years.

What impact does a Kentucky restraining order have?

An EPO or DVO can include the following restrictions:

  • Order the accused not to commit acts of domestic violence and abuse against the alleged victim
  • Order the accused not to contact and to stay away from the alleged victim or anyone listed in the order
  • Order the accused not to come within a given distance from a listed residence, school or place of employment
  • Order the accused to not sell or destroy any of the alleged victim’s property or any property shared between the two
  • Order the abuser to leave the shared home, if any
  • Give temporary custody of children they parent to the alleged victim
  • Provide the alleged victim with other protections to stop potential, future domestic violence.

A DVO can also award the alleged victim temporary child support and order that either or both parties receive counseling services available in your community. Either party can later ask that a DVO be dismissed or changed, but as a practical matter a judge will probably do that only if the alleged victim agrees or fails to appear for a hearing.

Violating an EPO or DVO can be treated as contempt of court (with a penalty of up to six months in jail) or as a class A misdemeanor (up to twelve months in jail). Violation of an EPO is often charged in connection with other allegations, such as assault. A DVO hearing gives a criminal defense attorney an opportunity to cross examine the alleged victim prior to a criminal trial.

What defenses are there to a charge that a Kentucky restraining order was violated?

There can be any number of defenses against an alleged violation of an EPO or DVO.

  • The defendant was not properly served with the order or notified of its contents prior to the alleged incidents.
  • A defense attorney can bring up credibility issues with the alleged victim’s version of events so the judge or jury may decide it is false or shouldn’t be relied upon.
  • There may be other witnesses to the events who support the accused’s version of events.
  • It may be a case of mistaken identity and the accused has a valid alibi.
  • The accused can argue he or she was actually trying to defend himself or herself against aggression by the alleged victim.
  • Law enforcement mishandled evidence or in some way violated the defendant’s constitutional rights.

If you are facing allegations of domestic abuse, attorney Dan Carman has wide-ranging experience from his service in the United States Marine Corps as defense counsel, prosecutor, legal assistance attorney, and in-house counsel for an infantry battalion. He knows how the Kentucky criminal justice system operates, and he has the skills needed to build a strong defense on your behalf. If you have been accused of domestic violence or have an order pending against you, let us handle the situation so you can focus on living your life. Call our offices today at (859) 685-1055 or fill out our online inquiry form. The initial consultation is free.