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Heather Jones

To file an Order of Protection in Indiana, you need to be the victim of the following:  

  • Domestic violence  
  • Stalking  
  • threatening behavior  
  • Harassment; or  
  • A sexual offense  

Domestic violence must be committed by a family or household member.    

A family or household member is defined under the law as a spouse, someone who is related to you, or a person you are, have dated, or had an intimate relationship with.    

Domestic violence is when a family or household member forces you to engage in sexual activity, stalks you, harms or threatens to harm you.    

Stalking is defined under Ind. Code § 35-45-10-1: A knowing or intentional course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened and that causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened. The term course of conduct means two or more incidents.  

Harassment is defined under Ind. Code § 34-6-2-51.5: Conduct directed toward a victim that includes but is not limited to repeated or continuing impermissible contact that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress and that causes the victim to suffer emotional distress. Harassment does not include statutorily or constitutionally protected activity, such as lawful picketing pursuant to labor disputes or lawful employer-related activities pursuant to labor disputes.    

A sex offense is defined under Ind. Code § 35-42-4: rape, child molesting, child exploitation, vicarious sexual gratification, child solicitation, child seduction, sexual battery, sexual misconduct with a minor, unlawful employment near children by a sexual predator, sex offender residency offense, sex offender internet offense, inappropriate communication with a child, and serious sex offender entering school property.    

Restraining Order for a Child  

In addition to adults filing for an Order of Protection for themselves, an Order of Protection may also be filed on behalf of a child. A parent or legal guardian must file the petition, and the court can grant injunctive relief to protect the child like that granted to an adult in many cases.    

What can the court order if the Order of Protection is granted?  

Prohibit contact at:  

  • Home  
  • School  
  • Place of work  

The order can also prohibit harassing, annoying, or threatening contact by other means such as telephone or computer. The order can require the respondent to move out of the house, pay child support, or surrender firearms. Specific properties, such as cars or other essential items, can be ordered to be distributed under that order. Visitation or custody arrangements can also be included if there are children in common to facilitate that. The court also has the authority to tailor prohibitions to each individual's specific circumstances if they fall outside of some of the normal requests of the petitioner if the court deems them appropriate.    

Order for Protection Process  

Once you have reviewed the requirements to obtain an Order for Protection and believe you qualify, you can start to file the paperwork. Four primary forms are completed during the order for protection process:  

  • Petition for an order for protection and request for a hearing  
  • Confidential Form  
  • Notice of Exclusion Form; and  
  • Respondent's verified request for a hearing  

The first step is to file a petition with the court in the County where you live or where the person you are trying to get an order of protection on lives. The confidential form and notice of exclusion form must also be filed at this time.    

At this point, the judge will review the petition and, if they find grounds, can immediately put the Order for Protection in place. This is an ex parte or temporary protective order because the respondent is not given notice.    

After the order, however, the judge will typically set a hearing within 30 days for the respondent to come to court and address the Protective Order. The respondent will need to be served notice before this hearing. If the Order for Protection remains in place after this hearing, it will be set in place for a period of time set by the judge.  

How Long Does an Order for Protection Last?  

An Order for Protection lasts for two years. If the respondent is a violent offender or a sex offender, the order can last indefinitely.    

What Happens if the Order for Protection is Violated?  

The violation of an Order of Protection is a crime that can result in fines or jail time. Typically, the court can find the respondent in contempt of the Order for Protection if a willful violation of the order can be shown. They can also be charged with a criminal invasion of privacy or stalking charge in Indiana.    

Does an Order for Protection Go on Your Record in Indiana?  

Yes, if you have an Order for Protection issued against you, it will be maintained on a searchable public database. There are options, however, to have a protective order record sealed in certain situations. Ind. Code § 34-26-7.5-1, allows for the sealing of a protective order if:  

  • The protective order was dismissed without a hearing on the matter.  
  • The protective order petition was denied  
  • The petitioner did not appear at the protective order hearing  
  • The protective order was reversed on appeal  
  • The protective order was not granted for any other reason.  

What is the Difference Between a Restraining Order and an Order for Protection in Indiana?  

In Indiana, there is no technical order called a restraining order. If you would like a restraining order in Indiana, you should petition the court for an order of protection, essentially the same as a restraining order.    

What is the difference between a no-contact order and an order for protection in Indiana?  

A no-contact order is an order that is set in a criminal case. The purpose of a no-contact order is to prevent a defendant from communicating with certain co-defendants, witnesses, or victims. The purpose is to prevent communications that can interfere with the criminal case. A protective order can be in place simultaneously with a no-contact order. The protective order, however, is a civil injunction and does not need criminal charges to be put in place.    

What Happens if the Victim Violates a No-Contact Order in Indiana?  

If the victim violates the no-contact order, there is technically no penalty for this. If there is a record of the victim violating the no-contact order, however, it may affect the police or court response to any future violations of the no-contact order. For example, the court may give a warning instead of a bail-jumping charge if the no-contact order is violated after the victim actively seeks contact.    

Can an Order for Protection Be Dismissed?  

The petitioner who filed for the order of protection can petition the court at any time to have the order for protection dismissed if they no longer want it in place.    

Having an experienced attorney by your side throughout this process can make the petition, serving of documents, and any hearings go smoother and will ensure you get the protection you need. You can find more information on our Indiana attorneys here: Indianapolis Attorneys at O'Flaherty Law.  

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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