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Attorneys tell all about protective orders in Indiana

Safety and peace of mind are priceless. However, most of us don’t give them a second thought on a day-to-day basis. No one expects to find themselves in a dangerous or potentially harmful situation – but it can happen to anyone. And for those times, the Indiana Civil Protective Order Act is there to help protect you.  It is important that we know exactly how the law defines harassment. IC 34-6-2-51.5 states that it is “conduct directed toward a victim that includes, but is not limited to, repeated or continuing impermissible contact: (1) that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress; and (2) that actually causes the victim to suffer emotional distress.” And IC 35-45-10-3 defines “impermissible contact” to include following or pursuing the victim, communication with the victim in person or by telephone or electronic means and posting on social media if the post is directed to or refers to the victim directly or indirectly.

An order can be made ex-parte, which means without or before a hearing, or the judge can set a hearing and only sign the order at that time.  All of these petitions must be set for hearing within 30 days if requested by the defendant.

Read on to learn about three different times when someone might seek a protective order/protection order.  Note: These scenarios from the team at Dixon & Moseley, P.C., are based on their decades of expertise, but details do not reflect actual cases.


Scenario No. 1: An ex-partner won’t take “no” for an answer

This is a protective order scenario that is perhaps the most familiar, about two people who were once romantically involved. Melissa ended things with her boyfriend, Jeremy, a couple of months ago. However, he refuses to accept her decision.

What started as repeated phone calls and upsetting text messages escalated into surprise visits to Melissa’s home and even a confrontation when Jeremy saw her out in public. Despite her repeated pleas for him to stop, Jeremy has continued to be verbally abusive and even threatened physical harm. Fearing for her safety and tired of Jeremy’s behavior, Melissa takes the reasonable step to seek legal action. She hopes that a protective order will stop the unwanted contact.


Scenario No. 2: One parent is abusive toward their spouse and /or children

Rachel, a young mother of two in Terre Haute, Indiana, has been living in fear due to her husband, Mark's, escalating abusive behavior. The once loving relationship has turned volatile, with Mark's violent outbursts becoming more frequent and severe. Rachel's primary concern, beyond her own safety, is the well-being of their children, who are also witnessing this abuse.

One terrifying night, Mark's violence escalates dramatically, leaving Rachel with physical injuries and the children traumatized. After this incident, Rachel decides she can no longer subject herself or her children to this danger and contacts the police.

The next day, while Mark is at work, Rachel files for a protective order for herself and those in her household.


Scenario No. 3: A protective order is issued and needs to be appealed

Alice, a prominent businesswoman in Indianapolis, Indiana, has been served a protection order by her former assistant, Joe. Joe accuses Alice of harassment and threats, allegations that Alice vehemently denies. She believes Joe is using these accusations as a form of revenge after being fired for poor performance.

Despite presenting her case, the protection order was granted by the judge. Alice is deeply concerned about the potential professional repercussions and the tarnishing of her reputation due to the order.

Deciding to challenge the decision, Alice hires an experienced attorney to file an appeal. The attorney begins the process of meticulously re-examining the case and drafting arguments supported by case law to defend Alice.  Alice remains hopeful that with the appeal, she can demonstrate her innocence, overturn the protection order and restore her reputation.


What to know about protective orders in Indiana

There are three basic grounds for obtaining a protective order: Being a survivor of domestic or family violence, being the target of a stalker or being the target of harassment. Beyond that, the details get complicated quickly. Obtaining a protective order is not always an easy task, which is why it is important to have an attorney on your side. Your attorney will know the law and can make sure that you have adequate evidence to make your request successful.

While these orders offer powerful protection, they can be misused or abused. Some cases are not as clear-cut and evident as others. Defending against them is complex – and each case is unique. If granted, the consequences can be significant.  Violating a protective order, even if it is not on purpose, can have serious repercussions, up to and including a felony charge. Additionally, a protective order can harm your job or career. Often a protective order will restrict your right to carry or even possess a firearm, which can be problematic if you are a police officer or a soldier.

A skilled attorney can help you navigate the process, no matter which side of the protective order you’re on. The attorney will know the statutes and case law regarding protective orders and can ensure that you have all of the tools, evidence, and witnesses necessary to fight for or against a protective order. Life is messy, and people are complicated. If you find yourself in a situation involving a protective order, don’t try to go it alone, as there can be serious repercussions.

Dixon & Moseley, P.C., is a law firm focused on the needs of families. With 25 years of experience, the Indianapolis-based firm serves clients in six core practice areas: family law, appellate practice, general practice, personal injury, criminal law and firearms law.


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Dixon & Moseley, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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Based in Indianapolis and founded in 1995, Dixon & Moseley, P.C. is a niche law firm focused on successfully dealing with the complexities of divorce, high-conflict child custody and family law. Known for their ability to solve extremely complex situations with high quality work and responsiveness, Dixon & Moseley, P.C. will guide you every step of the way. The family law attorneys at Dixon & Moseley, P.C. will help you precisely identify your objectives and the means to reach your desired result. Life is uncertain. Be certain of your counsel. Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys, Dixon & Moseley, P.C.

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