Stalking TPOs and PPOs - protect yourself from being stalked
If you or someone you know is experiencing stalking in Georgia, a temporary protective order (TPO) is a legal option available to help prevent the behavior from continuing. A TPO is a court order that prohibits an individual from having any contact with the victim, whether directly or indirectly. This can include physical contact, phone calls, texts, emails, or social media interactions - whether by the person or by a third-party. Obtaining a TPO can provide a sense of safety and security for victims of stalking, as it legally requires the stalker to stay away from the victim and their place of residence, work, or school. The process of getting a TPO in Georgia can be complex, but with the help of an experienced attorney, victims can navigate the system and take crucial steps to protect themselves from harm.
What is Stalking?
Stalking is a serious issue that affects many people, and Georgia law takes it very seriously. In the state of Georgia, stalking is defined as any intentional behavior that is meant to harass, intimidate, or cause fear in another person. This can include following someone, placing them under surveillance, or contacting them without their consent. If someone is found guilty of stalking in Georgia, they could face serious consequences, including jail time and hefty fines. However, some people skirt just under the police radar and evade prosecution and arrest for stalking, yet their stalking behavior is not just an inconvenience or annoyance, but a real threat to the safety and well-being of the victim. In these cases, Georgia law allows the victim to petition the courts for a TPO or restraining order, to get some peace of mind and know they are protected from future stalking by the stalker. If you or someone you know is experiencing stalking, it's important to seek help as soon as possible.
How to Get a TPO to Against a Stalker
If you are experiencing stalking in Georgia and the police are declining to get involved due to lack of arrestable evidence, it is important to know that you are not alone and there are still legal actions you can take to protect yourself. The first step in getting a TPO (Temporary Protection Order) against your stalker is to file a petition with the court. You will need to provide evidence of the stalking behavior, such as text messages, emails, or witness statements. After filing, you will have an ex parte hearing in front of the judge, where it will just be you to present your case, and allow your petition to remain open. If the ex parte hearing is granted, you will have a temporary order allowing you protection from the stalker until you can have a formal TPO hearing. Within 30 days of filing your petition, a hearing will be scheduled where you and the stalker will both have the opportunity to testify and present evidence. If the judge grants the TPO, the stalker will be ordered to stay away from you and any other locations listed in the order for up to 12 months. The judge also has the power to order the stalker to pay costs and attorney's fees, and the judge could order the stalker or both of you to receive appropriate psychiatric or psychological services as a further measure to prevent the recurrence of stalking. If the TPO is not granted, there are still other legal options available to you, such as a civil restraining order - however, such an order will not have police power backing it, and if the stalker continues to stalk you, you will have to drag them back to court for sanctions. Remember, it is your right to feel safe and protected, and taking legal action can be a step towards achieving that peace of mind.
What Happens with the Stalker Violates the TPO
Violating a stalking Temporary Protective Order (TPO) in Georgia is a serious offense that can result in criminal charges. These TPOs are put in place to protect individuals from being harassed or threatened by someone who may be exhibiting stalking behavior. If someone does try to contact you again while a TPO is in place, it's important to take action and stay safe. First, do not respond to any messages or attempts at contact from the person violating the TPO. Document all instances of the contact and notify the police immediately. If the police find enough evidence, they may arrest the violator for Aggravated Stalking, which is a felony in Georgia. Even if the police do not make an arrest, it is important to document that you contacted the police, so you can bring it up in court later on that you took this violation seriously. It is also advisable to seek legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are able to take the necessary steps to stay safe. Remember, violating a TPO is illegal, and there are consequences for those who do not comply with the order. Stay safe and take action if necessary.
How to Convert Your Stalking TPO to a PPO
A PPO, or permanent protective order, is a conversion of a usual 12-month TPO that provides long-term protection against someone who has committed stalking. In Georgia, the process of converting a temporary protective order (TPO) to a PPO involves filing a motion with the court prior to your TPO expiring, serving the other side with notice and a copy, and attending a hearing. If the judge finds that the requirements for a PPO have been met, the TPO can be extended into a PPO. It's important to note that PPOs can last either three years or your lifetime, depending on the circumstances and severity of the situation. If the judge denies your motion for a PPO, your TPO will still stand for the original duration, expiring at the end of the 12 months. As legal proceedings can be complex and emotionally challenging, it's recommended to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney to navigate the process and ensure your protection.
How We Can Help
At Your Law Firm, we understand how frightening and overwhelming it can be to experience stalking and harassment. That's why we're here to help you obtain a stalking TPO, or to assist you in converting an existing 12-month TPO into a longer-term solution such as a 3-year or lifetime PPO in Georgia. Our team of dedicated professionals is well-versed in the legal process and will work tirelessly to ensure that you feel safe and protected. We'll provide you with the support and advocacy you need to navigate the complexities of the system and obtain the relief you deserve. Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you need assistance; we're here to help.