Orders of Protection
Allegations of domestic violence are serious. They can affect your job, your livelihood, custodial arrangements for your children, and even your freedom. Approximately 41% of women and 35% of men in Missouri will experience intimate partner violence at some point during their lifetime. Whether you are the victim of physical assault, harassment, emotional abuse or other abusive behaviors or whether you are confronting false allegations of domestic violence that have been made against you, having the right attorney can make all the difference.
In determining whether or not an order of protection will be granted, the court must find whether an alleged victim has proven—by a preponderance of the evidence—that abuse or stalking has occurred. The “preponderance of the evidence” standard by which the court must make this determination is the lowest standard of proof provided under Missouri law. It is fully satisfied if a victim can demonstrate that his or her claims have a greater than 50% chance of being true. This differs significantly from other evidentiary standards used in other civil and criminal proceedings.
If a full order of protection is granted after a hearing, a court can enter orders regarding:
- Custody of children;
- Child Support;
- Spousal Support;
- Counseling, including substance abuse counseling or batterers’ intervention counseling;
- Temporary possession of personal property to one party;
- Removal of a party from his or her residence;
- Medical treatment and costs;
- Ownership of firearms;
- The ability to post certain information on social media; and/or
- Attorney’s fees and costs
A full order of protection can be granted by a court for a period of time ranging from 180 days to several years. Even though orders of protection are civil court orders, violating these orders can have criminal consequences. A first-time violation can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Repeated offenses can be charged as a Class E felony, with the potential for up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Violations of an order of protection are also punishable by contempt of court, which can also involve fines, further treatment orders, and/or jail time.
Our team—which includes two former federal prosecutors, former law enforcement officers, and seasoned civil litigation and criminal defense attorneys with decades of experience—has a proven track record of assisting individuals in telling their stories and making their case in some of the toughest cases that go to court.
With thorough preparation, attention to detail, and a creative approach to your case, we work tirelessly with you to craft a strategy to protect your rights in the courtroom, when it matters most.