An Order of Protection is a court issued document whereby an individual (or an individual and certain minor children) are protected from someone who caused physical harm, threatened physical harm, or stalked the individual seeking protection.
Anyone can get an order of protection, but it is only available for you against a person:
1. To whom you are currently or formerly related by blood or marriage, or
2. With whom you have resided, or
3. With whom you have had an intimate sexual relationship, or
4. Whom you have dated, or
5. With whom you have a child, born or unborn, or
6. Who has stalked you, or
7. Who has sexually assaulted you.
An Order of Protection is a civil matter; unlike a criminal matter whereby the State will prosecute the defendant. However, the teeth behind Orders of Protection in Tennessee is the threat of jail as punishment for violating an Order of Protection. Violation of an Agreed Order can result in a 10 day jail sentence. Violation of a contested Order can result in as much as an 11 month, 29 day jail sentence.
A “No Contact” Order of Protection prevents the Respondent (the person against whom the Order is taken) from direct, indirect & third party contact. One local judge in Blount County will admonish Respondents from calling, texting, emailing, or even sending smoke signals. With a “No Contact” Order, the Respondent cannot communicate in-person (or via the in-direct methods just mentioned), nor can he or she direct another (3rd party) person to do so. In-direct contact is punished the same as direct contact.
A “Social Contact” Order of Protection allows for contact between the parties; but still prohibits violence, or threats of violence. These are most common when one parent wants protection from violence & threats, but still wants to be free to facilitate child visitation.