Portland Restraining Order Lawyer
A protection from abuse (PFA) order, more commonly known as a “restraining order,” is designed to protect victims of domestic abuse and their children from further harm by ordering the abuser, under penalty of law, to refrain from certain activities such as calling or emailing you, entering your home or following you, etc.
In Maine, the definition of abuse casts a wide net, both in the text of the law and in the court’s interpretations. It may range from attempts to physically harm a victim to verbal threats that give the victim reason to fear for his or her safety. Harassment may mean any behavior that a reasonable person would interpret as threatening.
Some of the questions our clients frequently ask are as follows:
I’ve Been Served With A Protection From Abuse Order. Do I Need An Attorney?
The court will schedule a hearing within 21 days from the request to hear testimony and evidence from both parties to the dispute before denying or granting a permanent order that may last two years. A PFA order can have significant consequences when granted, so the representation of an attorney can be invaluable.
Does The Temporary Protection From Abuse Order Prevent Me From Owning Firearms?
It may. If the complaint demonstrates abuse involving a firearm or a weapon or shows a heightened risk of immediate abuse to the victim or a child, the judge may extend that protection.
Will A Protection From Abuse Order Show Up On My Background Check?
A protection from abuse order is a civil rather than criminal action. It is, however, a matter of public record. If you have been served with a protection from abuse order, it is wise to have the representation of an attorney for this reason, among others. Record of a civil restraining order can shadow you for a lifetime and haunt you in many foreseeable and unforeseeable ways.
Can I Get Court-Appointed Counsel To Defend Me Against A Protection From Abuse Or Harassment Complaint?
Since protections from abuse and protection from harassment orders are civil matters, you cannot obtain court-appointed counsel.
If The Person Who Filed The Complaint Against Me Contacts Me, Can I Talk To Them?
Probably not. The PFA is a court order. Violation of the order can result in criminal action. Read it carefully. Talk to an attorney first.
What Does It Cost To File A Protection From Abuse Of Protection From Harassment Complaint?
There are no fees to file a protection from abuse complaint, however, there are fees associated with a complaint for harassment, unless it involves an allegation of stalking, sexual assault or domestic or dating violence.
In any matter involving domestic violence, the representation of a lawyer is wise beyond measure. Whether you are seeking a PFA or a PFH order or have been served with one, your rights are well-served by the counsel of a knowledgeable attorney.