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What should you know about orders of protection?

An order of protection, commonly referred to as a restraining order, is issued by a court to safeguard individuals from harm or harassment. In South Dakota, these orders are particularly relevant in cases involving domestic violence, stalking or harassment.

The primary purpose of an order of protection is to prevent the defendant from contacting the petitioner, coming near their home, place of work, or other specified locations and possibly possessing firearms.

Legal process and types of orders

In South Dakota, the process begins when the petitioner files a request for an order of protection with the court. There are generally two types of orders:

  • Temporary orders: Granted without a hearing and immediately provide protection to the petitioner
  • Final orders: Issued after a court hearing involving both parties

Defendants must attend this hearing that provides them an opportunity to present their side of the story. During the hearing, both parties can present evidence and arguments, and the judge will decide whether to issue a final protection order.

Implications for defendants

Being subject to an order of protection in South Dakota has significant legal implications. Violating the order can result in criminal charges, including arrest and prosecution. It’s important to understand the specific restrictions imposed by the order, as these can affect various aspects of the defendant’s life, including where they can go and whom they can contact.

Seeking legal assistance is critical for all defendants facing protective orders. They should ensure they understand the claims behind the order, as well as what’s limited and allowed. Without this guidance, an unintentional violation could occur and serious criminal consequences could follow.