Restraining orders or protective orders can both be a lifesaver in a difficult personal situation that may seem impossible to get away from. However, many good and beneficial things in the law, or even in society in general, have a distressing underbelly that causes problems for many people. Restraining orders are no exception. While they are a great idea and can help those who desperately need them, restraining order and protective order abuse is prevalent in the U.S. today, and has been, for years.
Restraining and Protective Orders in South Carolina
There are two different kinds of court orders in South Carolina that are meant to protect people from domestic violence or threatening behavior: restraining orders and protective orders. The difference between the two has to do with who you are trying to keep away from you, and where you will have to go to get the order issued.
Orders of protection focus on household members who are threatening you, such as an abusive spouse. To get an order of protection, you have to go to a family court in South Carolina.
Restraining orders, on the other hand, are for people who are not in your household, but who are harassing or stalking you. Restraining orders are issued by magistrate judges.
Both of these orders have several things in common, though, that make them susceptible to abuse. They are both easy for people to apply for, involving merely going to the right personnel and filling out the correct paperwork. They do not even have a filing fee in order to complete the request. Hearings on the request for an order of protection or a restraining order happen quickly, sometimes within 24 hours, and are ex parte – the person against whom the order will be made does not get to be there to present their own case. Lastly, these orders go into effect quickly, can severely impact what someone can do or who they can talk with, and carry substantial penalties if they are violated.
Restraining Order Abuse
Because of all of these factors, it has become a somewhat common practice for people to abuse the process. Because the hearing on a restraining or protective order request is ex parte, the judge in charge of issuing the order only hears one side of the story, making it difficult for them to determine how trustworthy the facts are that back up the request. To make matters worse, the penalty for lying on a court document like a request for a protective or restraining order, perjury, is rarely pursued by prosecutors.
With little risk of getting caught, unscrupulous and vindictive people have shown a great willingness to stretch the truth or make up facts in order to get protective orders against people they want to get back at, or just want to harass.
Call an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you think that you are the victim of restraining or protective order abuse, you need a family law attorney in Greenville to help you fight back. Contact the Elliott Frazier Law Firm, LLC today.