A restraining order and a domestic violence (DV) order of protection are two different types of court orders in New Mexico. Both are intended to protect abuse victims from their abusers, but the two types of orders are issued by two different types of courts. Both types of requested orders will be heard in front of a judge or hearing officer, so it’s important to have legal representation present when requesting one.
The Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer in Santa Fe has attorneys experienced in both types of orders, who can represent you in a hearing. It’s a good idea to have an attorney in your corner representing you, so that your request does not end up getting denied. Our family law attorneys have decades of experience in both civil and criminal court cases and will help to ensure the best outcome in your case.
Here is a closer look at these two different types of court orders in New Mexico, and how they may affect your personal situation.
Domestic Violence (DV) Order of Protection in Santa Fe
The main difference between a DV Order of Protection and a Restraining Order in New Mexico is that a DV Order of Protection is sought if both parties are members of the same household. DV Orders of Protection are heard by a Hearing Officer in a New Mexico Family Law Court. It’s important to note that a person does not have to be living in the same household as you in order for a DV Order of Protection to be sought against them. They can still qualify as a “household member” to qualify for a protection order.
The petitioner in the case (you) need to have had a continuous relationship with the person you are seeking the DV Order of Protection against. The person you are seeking the protection order against can be a close family member, a person who lives with you, or a person you are dating or have had a close relationship with. Here are some examples that qualify:
- A spouse or former spouse
- A stepparent or stepchild (if the stepchild is considered old enough to be a threat to you)
- An in-law or other related family member
- A boyfriend or girlfriend
- Any other person you have had a close, ongoing relationship with
A DV Order of Protection is a court order that prohibits an individual from engaging in certain behaviors with the petitioner. This can include coming within a certain distance of you, or even contacting you via phone or email. If the Hearing Officer for the court believes there is a credible threat against you, they are likely to grant a DV Order of Protection.
Here are some of the situations in which a Hearing Officer will grant a petition for an Order of Protection:
- Domestic Violence
- Physical or Mental Abuse
- Abuse or Harm to Minors
We should note that an act of domestic violence does not necessarily have to be committed against you personally, in order for you to file a DV Order of Protection. Families can be large and complex, and if one person you are in a relationship with in your household threatens another member, you can still file for a DV Order of Protection against that person on behalf of another member of your household (if an ex-girlfriend or -boyfriend is threatening a child, for example).
Family law situations are complicated, and it is in your best interests to have an experienced Family Law Attorney representing you. That’s why you should contact the Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer in Santa Fe, NM if you are seeking a DV Order of Protection against someone else. Our experienced attorneys are familiar with the “ins and outs” of family law and criminal law, and will ensure that all the facts are presented to the Hearing Officer to increase your chances of success in obtaining a DV Order of Protection against an abusive person.
Obtaining a DV Order of Protection in Santa Fe, NM
To obtain a Domestic Violence (DV) Order of Protection against someone else in New Mexico, it involves a multi-stage court process. While it is legally possible for an individual to navigate this process on their own (Pro se), it is strongly advised that you procure the services of an attorney to aid you in this process.
The first step in the process of obtaining a DV Order of Protection is to file what is known as a “Temporary Order of Protection” with the court. This can provide an immediate court order against an individual to protect members of a household, while also protecting the rights of the accused in the instance that it might be a false claim of domestic violence. The accused still has to abide by the court order, but the dictates might only be temporary, in other words.
To obtain a Temporary Order of Protection, you must successfully allege to the court that the accused person committed one of the following types of domestic abuse against another member of your household:
- Bodily injury or assault
- Severe emotional distress
- Criminal property damage
- Issuing a threat that caused imminent fear of physical harm
- Harm or threaten to harm someone in the household
- Criminal trespass
- Stalking, which can include repeatedly driving past the residence or a workplace
The Hearing Officer will evaluate your petition for a DV Order of Protection once it is submitted to the court system. The petition must conclusively show at least one of the above instances that qualifies as domestic violence or abuse under New Mexico law. The Hearing Officer will then set a court date, which allows the accused household member to plead their case before the court. The accused person might claim that the alleged abuse never happened.
It’s important to understand that the burden of proof under New Mexico law requires that you prove your case before the court, in order for a DV Order of Protection to be granted. This is why it is so crucial to hire an experienced Family Law Attorney in Santa Fe to help present your case.
If your petition for a DV Order of Protection is granted by the court, several important boundaries immediately go into effect:
- If the abuser violates the DV Order of Protection, police can immediately arrest them
- The abuser cannot stop by the petitioner’s workplace, school, daycare or home
- The abuser is ordered to avoid all contact with the petitioner in written, digital (email or text message), telephonic or any other form of communication
Penalties for Violating a DV Order of Protection in New Mexico
If a Family Law Court grants your petition for a Domestic Violence Order of Protection, the abuser must abide by the conditions of the order. If they violate any of the conditions and contact or threaten you, they face a one-year jail sentence for a first offense.
Violating an Order of Protection from the court a second time results in an immediate 72 hours in jail, plus any probation violations or additional jail time as ordered by the court. If an abuser continues to violate the conditions of the Order of Protection, they can be fined up to $5,000 and sentenced to a three-year jail term.
Restraining Order in Santa Fe, NM
While a Domestic Violence Order of Protection is heard in a New Mexico Family Law court, a Restraining Order is heard in a Civil Court. The main difference is that a Restraining Order is sought and issued against a person who is not a “household member” or who does not have a close intimate relationship with the petitioner. (An example would be a co-worker who is stalking you, despite having no close relationship.)
Like a DV Restraining Order, it is highly advised that you have an attorney from the Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer to represent you before a restraining order hearing in Civil Court. Our attorneys can help you to navigate the complexities of the court system to ensure that your Restraining Order is granted by the court.
Contact a Family Law Attorney in Santa Fe, NM
The Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer in Santa Fe has experienced family law attorneys who understand the complicated nature of the court system. If you are applying for a DV Order of Protection or a Restraining Order under New Mexico law, your best chance of success lies in having an experienced attorney at your side!
Call our Santa Fe office at 505-924-1000 today to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys. They will hear the particulars of your case, help you formulate a strategy for moving forward, and represent you in Family Law or Civil Court as you issue your petition for a New Mexico protection order.