Protective Orders in Louisiana

Posted by Jarrett P. AmbeauMar 14, 20230 Comments

A protective order, restraining order, injunction against abuse, peace bond, or criminal order of protection are all terms used generally to refer to court orders that require one person to stay away from another person. The purpose of such orders is to prevent abuse and enhance safety for the person who is seeking the court's protection.

These orders may be issued by a civil court, a family court, or a criminal court. Although anyone can ask the court to issue an order restraining someone else in order to prevent behavior that is potentially harmful, only those orders issued to prevent domestic abuse, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault are included in the Louisiana Protective Order Registry. The terms for court orders of protection are often used interchangeably, but there are some distinctions.  

  • Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) - This term refers to an order that is issued in response to a petition to the court for protection and prior to a hearing by the court. It may also be called an ex parte order. Temporary orders generally expire on the date of the hearing
  • Protective Orders (POs) - Although all orders granting protection are frequently referred to as protective orders, more specifically, a protective order is an order that is granted under Louisiana's Domestic Abuse Assistance Act, Protection from Dating Violence Act, Children's Code Domestic Abuse Assistance Act, Protection from Stalking Act, or Protection for Victims of Sexual Assault Act, after the court hearing.  
  • Injunctions Against Abuse - An injunction is also a kind of order of protection and refers to an order issued after a hearing under the Post-Separation Family Violence Relief Act or Code of Civil Procedure Articles, or in conjunction with a divorce proceeding. A Preliminary Injunction is a court order issued after a court hearing and a Permanent Injunction is a court order issued after a trial on the merits.  
  • Criminal Orders of Protection - A criminal court may issue an abuse prevention order in conjunction with a criminal charge brought before that court.  When the defendant charged with a crime is ordered to stay away from the victim, this order is referred to as a criminal order of protection.  Depending upon the stage in the court process at which this order is issued, the order may contain conditions of release, bail restrictions, sentencing orders, probation conditions, or conditions of parole.  Not all criminal orders of protection are sent to the Louisiana Protective Order Registry, only those involving a domestic or dating relationship between the parties or stalking or sexual assault by a stranger or acquaintance of the victim. 

In a 2001 La. Supreme Court opinion (Bays v. Bays, 779 So.2d 754), the court found that a protective order under the state domestic violence statutes may not issue without the filing of a petition.  In other words, mutual or reciprocal orders of protection should not be issued, except in those instances where each of the parties has formally petitioned the court for relief and there is a finding that each poses a credible threat to the safety of the other.  

It is a common misconception that if the victim agrees to speak to or meet with the abuser during the period of the order, that s/he has violated the terms and conditions of the order, thereby nullifying it.  The order, unless it is a mutual order obtained in the legal manner described above, does not address or proscribe behavior on the victim's part.  If the person who is the subject of the order is invited by the victim to engage in behavior that is prohibited by the court, only the subject of the order can be held accountable.  The order remains in effect unless and until the court convenes a contradictory hearing and makes a different finding. 

A protective order issued against you is a very serious matter and will limit many of your Constitutional rights. You must take immediate action to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to represent you in this matter. We are here at The Ambeau Law Firm to assist you in navigating this difficult time - give us a call today.