Starting January 1, 2012 it will be far easier for a victim of domestic violence or stalking to get a long-term protection order against their alleged assailant. Thanks to a new law the judge who convicts such an offender will have the option of enacting an order for up to 10 years, no longer requiring the victim to handle the order themselves.
Now, if you are a victim in a domestic violence case, you must obtain the order on your own. If any existing order expires while your aggressor is in jail, it’s you as the victim who must to down to the courthouse and get another issued. Soon, this won’t be the case.
Domestic violence advocates are pleased with the new law, which was passed unanimously this summer. Sponsored by state Senator Fran Pavley (D-Aurora Hills) and backed by the California District Attorneys Association the law was initially suggested by prosecutor Alison Filo of the Santa Clara County DA’s office.
Filo saw the need for change when she watched a woman attend her abuser-husband’s trial and later asked what would stop him from stalking her when he got out of jail. She responded that the woman would have to go to “another courthouse, get a form, fill out the form, attend an emergency hearing to get a short-term order, and then return for a full hearing.” The process seemed to be a little much when Filo believed it could be handled from the bench.
While the effectiveness of such orders is often questioned, if they are violated the suspect can be prosecuted for another crime, which in California is a misdemeanor.
Some say that an aggressor named on a protection order will follow through with their intended acts whether or not the order in place. The Mercury News, however, reports that the Santa Clara County’s Domestic Violence Death Review Committee says no one killed in a domestic violence murder in Santa Clara County within the last 17 years has had an active protective order on file.
As someone who is named on a protective order, you must know that you are already suspected of being an aggressor. Any contact you make with your alleged victim could potentially damage any credibility you hang on to. Even if the order was founded on lies or half-truths, you must follow it in order to avoid any new criminal charges.