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How does a domestic violence protection order work?

If your partner accuses you of domestic violence, they could seek to place a protection order. If they succeed, this could severely limit your rights and impose unwanted changes on your life.

Protection orders play a vital role in keeping people in danger safe. Yet, because someone can request one with immediate effect, they can also use them to prejudice another person unfairly. Generally, if someone accuses you of a crime, you would be innocent until proven guilty. While a protection order does not declare you guilty, it treats you as though you are.

South Dakota law offers two types of protection orders. Temporary ones last for 30 days, but a judge can extend them. Final protection orders can last up to five years.

Several people are entitled to request protection orders. They include current or former spouses or partners, someone who has had or is about to have your child, as well as your parents, children, brothers or sisters.

What are the grounds for requesting a protection order?

Any of the people mentioned can request a protection order by accusing you of domestic abuse. The state views domestic abuse as:

  • Causing someone physical harm or bodily injury
  • Attempting to do it
  • Making them fear that you are about to do it

If their request succeeds, you cannot carry out acts of “domestic abuse” against the person and might not be allowed to enter the place they live, even if that is where you live. Violating a protection order can lead to even more severe consequences, such as jail. The person who sought the order could call the police if you go to pick up your clothes or see your kids. They could tell the police you threatened them over the phone or in the street.

Do not delay if your spouse accuses you of domestic violence or if they threaten to accuse you of it. The consequences can soon spiral out of your control if you do not act quickly to defend the allegations.