Domestic disputes are always difficult, but when they result in court orders, they can have serious consequences. A restraining order allows individuals to obtain protection from alleged domestic violence without immediately having to file for legal separation or divorce.
In Oregon, these orders are provided for in the Family Abuse Protection Act (FAPA) and are commonly referred to as FAPA restraining orders. A FAPA restraining order can keep you from making any kind of physical or verbal contact with your partner or even your children. In some cases, the order can even keep you out of your own home.
If you’ve been served with a FAPA restraining order, you can still fight back. There is a legal process in place for contesting these orders. With the help of an experienced lawyer, you may be able to have the order rescinded and get on with your life. At Siefman Law, LLC, our Portland criminal defense attorney has years of experience helping defendants accused of domestic violence. We’re ready to challenge your FAPA restraining order and to do whatever else it takes to make sure that your life is not negatively impacted by this order.
Understanding FAPA Restraining Orders
If you have been served with a FAPA restraining order, your partner or a family member filled out an application and based on the evidence they presented a judge granted a temporary restraining order. All of this was done without any chance for you to present your side of the story. Once you have been served with the FAPA restraining order, you are legally barred from doing anything it prohibits. A FAPA restraining order can prohibit you from a number of different behaviors, such as:
- Making any physical or verbal contact with your partner or family member
- Calling, texting, or writing your partner or family member
- Physically being within a certain distance of your partner of family member
- Visiting your partner or family member’s work
- Entering a home you share with your partner or family member
- Making any physical or verbal contact with your children
- Visiting your children’s school
- Possessing guns or other weapons
The specific terms of any given FAPA restraining order are left up to the individual judge. Your order may contain some, all, or none of the terms listed above. It is important to read your order carefully so as to avoid violating any of its terms. An experienced Portland FAPA restraining order attorney can help you understand the specific behaviors your order prohibits and how to keep from violating it. You will have a chance to contest the order, but you could still be punished for violating it in the meantime.
What are the Consequences of Violating a FAPA Restraining Order?
Violating a restraining order can result in serious consequences, disrupting both your life and your finances. No matter how small your violation may seem, breaking any of the terms of the order will cause you to be held in contempt of court and may lead to you being arrested and criminally charged with violation of a restraining order.
If it is found that you violated your restraining order, you could face civil and criminal penalties, including:
- A fine of $500 or 1% of your annual income, whichever is more
- Up to 6 months in jail
- Additional penalties for contempt as the court sees fit
It is important to remember that you can still be found in violation of your restraining order and forced to pay these penalties even if you later contest the order and have it dismissed. Additionally, if you are accused of violating your order, the proceedings related to the violation will be separate from those relating to the order itself and contesting it. It is important that you speak with an experienced FAPA restraining order attorney to understand how you can keep from violating your restraining order, even as you seek to contest it.
How to Contest a FAPA Restraining Order
The initial FAPA order is temporary, it will become permanent if you do not contest the order, or lose your contested hearing. There is a small window of time for contesting your restraining order.
After the temporary order has been served, a request for hearing is due within 30 days from the date served. If child custody is not an issue, they will schedule the hearing within 21 days. If you object to a restraining order involving child custody then the hearing will be within 5 days.
If you fail to contest the order within 30 days the temporary order will become permanent and will remain in effect for one year from the date the judge signs the order. If you contest the temporary order, both parties will have to appear at the hearing. Both parties will present their arguments, and the judge will decide whether to dismiss the FAPA restraining order or keep it in place.
Because this process is so time sensitive and because of the legal know-how it takes to get an order dismissed, it is important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Getting legal assistance right away is an important part of dealing with any domestic violence accusations, but especially when you plan to contest a FAPA restraining order. The sooner you start building your case, the better chance you will have of getting the order dismissed.
If you’ve been served with a FAPA restraining order, the time to act is now. Portland criminal defense attorney Jeff Siefman is ready to help you contest your FAPA restraining order. Don’t wait: call him now at (503) 395-2135 to learn more about how to contest a FAPA restraining order in Portland.