Securing a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) in the State of Georgia

A Temporary Protective Order, or TPO, is an order issued by the court designed to protect victims of “family violence” from harassment and/or abuse. The order will require that the alleged aggressor keep a distance from the petitioner’s place of residency and employment, and prohibits them from initiating any kind of contact. This order may also to extend to the children of the individual filing the order if the court feels that it is warranted. Frequently, requests for Temporary Protective Orders are filed amidst heated family situations, so it is critical to examine the nature of each unique situation.

Under O.C.G.A. § 19-13-1 “family violence” is defined as “the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household:  (1) Any felony; or (2) Commission of offenses of battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, or criminal trespass.” Family violence does not, however, include reasonable discipline administered by a parent to a child in the form of corporal punishment, restraint, or detention.

When an individual desires to file for a TPO, they must file the order in the county in which their alleged abuser resides. If the alleged abuser lives out of state, they may file the order in their county of residence. Once the order is filed, the court will require the petitioner to prove that there was a recent incident of any of the violations set forth by O.C.G.A. § 19-13-1.

If the judge grants the petitioner a TPO, the defendant will be served the order, and a hearing including both parties will occur within 30 days. During this initial hearing, the defendant will have the opportunity to oppose the order. After both sides have presented their case, the judge will then decide whether or not the order will be extended for a period of up to 12 months. If a violation of the TPO occurs before its expiration, the judge may choose to make the order permanent.

Securing a TPO is often necessary to protect victims of violence, as well as those threatened with violence by a family member. A TPO can also make a significant impact on the outcome of divorce hearings, and can heavily influence court decisions during custody battles. Securing a TPO when warranted can have a tremendously positive outcome on the lives of victims of family violence, but can also lead to serious, life-altering consequences for the accused.

Legal Representation for Temporary Protective Orders

At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Our criminal defense attorneys, Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, have combined experience of more than 30 years representing clients facing criminal charges in Georgia. For more information, or to request a case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-822-0900.