Responding to a Restraining Order in Nebraska
Having a police officer show up at your door and shove a restraining order in your face can feel like a massive blow. Restraining orders can impact every facet of your life, from where you work to how you get around Omaha to your relationships. Whether it is temporary or permanent, you should take a restraining order seriously and not hesitate to speak to an attorney about how you can fight it.
Types of Restraining Orders in Nebraska
Nebraska has three types of retraining orders, or protective orders, that alleged victims can request from a judge:
- Harassment Protection Orders: Harassment protection orders apply in cases where someone accuses a defendant of harassing or stalking them. Under Nebraska Revised Statute 28-311.02, harassment is defined as knowingly and willfully engaging in a “course of conduct” that makes a person feel terrified, intimidated, or threatened when there is no legitimate purpose for these actions. Harassment protection orders apply to any victim who has experienced harassment or stalking and can last for up to one year.
- Domestic Violence Protection Orders: Domestic violence protection orders are similar to harassment orders but only apply in certain scenarios. Domestic violence is the crime of intentionally or knowingly injuring an intimate partner, such as spouse, romantic or sexual partner, former partner, or a parent of the defendant’s child, according to Nebraska Revised Statute 28-323. In addition, these orders can apply to a defendant’s children or other family members related by blood. Like harassment orders, domestic violence protection orders can last for up to one year. They can also lead to a change in custody agreements.
- Sexual Assault Protection Orders: Sexual assault protection orders apply specifically to cases involving sexual assault, as defined under Nebraska Revised Statute 28-317 to 28-320, which can include sexual assault, sexual contact, sexual penetration without consent, and sexual assault of a child. Like the other two orders, sexual assault protection orders last for at least one year.
An individual can request a protection order on an ex-parte basis, meaning they fill out a form and submit it to the local court for review. Typically, the individual will meet with a judge within 24 hours to review the details of the order and the basis for the request. If the judge believes there is just cause, then the protection order will be granted on a temporary basis.
Protection orders are not in effect until a county sheriff presents the order to the defendant, and they also do not become permanent until the defendant has a chance to respond in a court hearing. After you have been served with a protection order, you have 10 business days to request a court hearing to dispute it. If you fail to meet this deadline, the judge will extend the order for up to one year. Protection orders for domestic violence and sexual assault can be renewed annually if the victim petitions the court.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Served a Restraining Order?
The Nebraska Supreme Court details important steps to take if you are the subject of a protection order, and you should review them carefully. Once you have been issued a protection order, you should not contact the alleged victim under any circumstances. This includes meeting them in person, visiting their work or school, calling, texting, direct messaging, or emailing them.
Any contact with the alleged victim can be a Class I misdemeanor, which comes with up to one year in county jail and/or a maximum $1,00 fine. However, if you have a previous conviction for violating a protection order, the crime can be elevated to a Class IV felony, which is punished with up to two years in prison, one year probation, and/or a maximum $10,000 fine.
If you have been served with a restraining order, you should:
- Avoid all contact with the alleged victim and anyone else named in the order;
- Contact your local court within 10 business days to schedule a court hearing; and
- Speak to an Omaha criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., our criminal defense team can get started on your case once you contact us. We have years of experience defending clients against serious charges and understand the intricacies of protection orders. Our attorneys can investigate the charges against you and represent you in a court hearing to have the protection order dismissed. We can also provide strong legal defense if you are charged with violating a protection order. To discuss your case in a free consultation, call us at (402) 505-8234.
Our legal team is ready to help. Please fill out the form below to set up a free consultation with attorney Jason Bottlinger.