LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Vincent Patrick Wyatt | Jan 17, 2012

Can an Order of Protection be Dismissed?

Some thirty years ago, Tennessee lawmakers first introduced laws now found in Tennessee Code Annotated 36-3-601 et seq. to protect citizens from being battered, abused, stalked, or otherwise harassed by spouses, former lovers, and even family members. The need for such laws is clear, but as with any good law there are those that will abuse the system.

It is not uncommon in Nashville for persons to attempt to manipulate the system by seeking and obtaining an order of protection against a spouse to gain an advantage in upcoming divorce proceedings. At other times, persons may rush to the courthouse first to seek an order of protection against an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend so as to beat the other party to the punch in an attempt to protect themselves against having one issued against them or even worse to protect themselves against criminal charges.

The scenarios described in the preceding paragraph are unfortunately not uncommon in Davidson County courts. Persons that have an order of protection issued against them (Respondents) are all too often viewed as suspicious at best before they ever get a chance to tell their side of the story as the Judge will have reviewed the written petition and heard the petitioner's version of the events before they ever get to speak. This is why it is so important that the respondent has the most capable attorney that is experienced with these types of cases and prepared to clear the cloud of condemnation.

If an order of protection is sustained after a hearing then the order will be a permanent record that can never be expunged. The order will remain in place for one year and can be extended. The order immediately prohibits the Respondent from possessing a firearm. One must consider that if a person is evil enough to petition for an order of protection against you without just cause one time then such person could very well decide to make a false allegation again within the next year, which would immediately send you to jail. It is imperative to fight orders of protection at the first court date.

The only way for a person to protect themselves is to go to court prepared to defend the order of protection. If after a hearing the judge dismisses the order of protection then the incident is eligible for expungement.

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