In the state of Kansas, judges can issue what is known as protection from abuse (PFA) orders. Commonly known as a restraining order or an order of protection, PFA orders are designed to protect against "abuse," which is defined under Kansas Statutes §60-3102 as the attempt to intentionally or recklessly cause bodily injury, cause another to have fear of imminent bodily injury, and/or engage in sexual activities with a minor under 16-years-of-age who is not the offender's spouse.
A PFA Order Can:
- Restrict the alleged abuser from abusing the victim through physical and emotional harassment
- Prohibit the abuser from molesting or interfering with the alleged victim and their children
- Order the alleged abuser to leave the home they share with the victim, not cancel any utility service, and give up the possession of the home to the victim.
- If this is not the order, the defendant may also be required to find the alleged victim alternate housing.
- In cases where children are involved, the PFA order can help to establish and enforce temporary arrangements of custody and visitation rights, as well as child and spousal support.
There are also orders for protection from stalking, which falls under the state's Protection from Stalking Act.
Contact our firm to learn more about restraining orders in Olathe, KS.
- Emergency PFA Order: These are granted in situations where emergency protection is needed and the plaintiff can't wait until the courts open. These are short-term and only last until 5 p.m. the following day, which is why those who are granted emergency PFA orders are encouraged to apply for a more permanent version of the restraining order the next day at the courthouse.
- Temporary PFA Order: If there is convincing testimony or evidence, a Kansas judge may choose to grant a temporary PFA order should they determine that someone is in immediate danger. These last for a total of 21 days and are meant to bridge the time until the final hearing takes place.
- Final PFA Order: This is more permanent form of the protection from abuse order, and can only be granted after a final hearing. During this final hearing, both sides will be able to present their sides. If the final PFA order is granted, it will last for up to a year, with the opportunity for extension.
What Is a Mutual Order of Protection?
Although the above are the three main types of PFA order, it is important to also consider what is known as a mutual order of protection. These are granted in cases where one side seeks a PFA and the other party submits a counter-petition stating that they too have been victimized by abuse. This can be granted after a hearing where both parties present evidence, but only if the judge believes that both parties were primary causes of the aggression instead of only acting out of self-defense. In some cases, a mutual PFA order can be obtained when both parties mutually agree to it without a hearing.
What Happens if the PFA Order Is Violated?
There are serious consequences for situations where the PFA order is violated. Per Kansas Statutes §60-3107, should the defendant violate the terms of the PFA order restraining him or her from the abuse, molestation or interference with the plaintiff, it could be considered assault or battery under the law. If the defendant was excluded from their residents or household, and they violate this term, it could be considered criminal trespass. Additionally, violations of the initial PFA order can result in an extension of the original order, up to a possible lifetime restriction. These are serious criminal charges which can carry harsh penalties, especially if they are charged in tandem with domestic violence. For this reason, if you have had a PFA order taken out against you, it is crucial that no time is wasted in getting the involvement of a high-quality Olathe criminal defense lawyer from Garretson & Toth, LLC.
What if the Plaintiff Violates a PFA Order?
If the plaintiff violates a PFA order in Kansas, the court can hold them in contempt of court, which means they have disobeyed a court order. The penalties for contempt of court can include fines, a jail sentence, or both. The exact consequences depend on the specific circumstances of the violation and the discretion of the judge. Furthermore, if the plaintiff's violation of the PFA order involves committing a new act of domestic violence or abuse, they could face criminal charges for those actions.
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