In the state of Tennessee, when a person is abused, threatened, stalked, harassed, or a victim of domestic violence, they may seek a protective order with the courts which requires their alleged abuser to stay a certain distance away from them. Also known as “restraining orders,” these orders usually remain active for one year, though they may be modified by the courts as they see fit. But what happens if the parties wish to reconcile, or if the terms of the order are too harsh? Can either party petition to modify or dismiss the order? Depending on the circumstances, yes.
First, it is important to remember that there is a difference between an order of protection and a criminal charge. While a temporary order of protection may be dismissed if the person seeking the order does not show up to the associated court hearing, domestic violence charges may have their own bond restrictions which can prevent the arrested individual from seeing the allegedly abused party. In these situations, an abused party will need to contact the domestic violence coordinator in the district attorney’s office and request that the OP and DV bond conditions be changed to a no violent contact order.
Dismissal by Respondent
If a restraining order has already been granted, the alleged abuser, known as the respondent, may file a Notice of Appeal indicating that they wish to contest the order and have it dropped. Respondents must gather any evidence they may have indicating that the plaintiff does not need protection and plead their case before a judge. If the respondent presents a compelling argument, or if the plaintiff does not appear in court, the judge dismiss the order.
Dismissal by Plaintiff
Plaintiffs may either let the temporary protective order expire after 15 days or file a one-page “Dismissal of an Order of Protection” form with the court clerk in the count where the order was issued if they wish to have the charges dropped more quickly. Once temporary orders expire, they are considered by the courts to be null and void. Alternatively, plaintiffs who wish to lessen the severity of an order of protection’s terms but not dismiss it entirely may request a hearing with a judge to amend its terms.
Conditions of a protective order which may be modified or removed include:
- Being unable to have personal, electronic, written, or telephone communication
- No contact with the protected person through any third party other than an attorney
- Being unable to come within a certain distance of a protected person
Regardless of whether you are a protected or restrained party, modifying a restraining order can be a difficult endeavor and success is not guaranteed. To maximize your chances of approval, it is imperative you contact a knowledgeable Clarksville criminal defense attorney from Patton | Pittman Attorneys at Law. With more than 75 years of combined legal experience and an AV Preeminent® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell® for our unmatched ethics and skill, we have what it takes to help you secure the results you need.
Schedule your free case evaluation online or call us today at (931) 361-4477 to get started.