Interviewer: Is there a typical, or for a typical type of individual that receives a protect order?
Danielle Hawkes: No. I think there’s a lot of chain involved sometimes with some of my clients. Domestic violence and these situations affects everybody in our community at some level, whether it’s someone we know, whether it happened to us. Really our office tries to take the stigma out of it, and really just help the person as smoothly as possible move out of that relationship. Because really an impact, everyone from the clerk to the CEO, and even politicians, and things like that in our community, it affects everyone in our community.
A Person Who Files for a Protective Order Can have it Dismissed Whenever they Want
Interviewer: Will a protective order always stay on someone’s record?
Danielle Hawkes: It’s not a criminal record. It doesn’t go into someone’s criminal record. A question we get asked a lot is can a protective order be dismissed. Once it’s entered, it’s been entered, can it be dismissed? The answer is yes. A person who filed the protective order can dismiss it whenever they like, whenever they feel comfortable to do that. Then the person, who received the protective order against them, can ask for it to be dismissed in 2 years. In 2 years, they can ask for the court to review the situation, and at that point, dismiss it. If neither of those things happen, then the protective order just stays in place.
A Protective Order is a Civil Action, Violation of a Protective Order is a Criminal Offense
Interviewer: By dismiss, does that mean it can be expunged or completely removed from someone’s record?
Danielle Hawkes: There’s no expungement involved because it’s not a criminal, it’s a civil action. Once they violated a protective order, that will be on the criminal record. A protective order itself is not going to be a criminal record. Where it does impact people’s lives is for a job, because jobs often will ask. For example, if you’re a nurse or something like that, a potential employer will ask. “Do you have a protective order against you or things like that?” It will show off on those records as active. Then also, if you’re trying to buy a gun, or have a gun in your name, or get a license for a gun, you can’t do that with a protective order, an open protective order.
If you’re a gun enthusiast, you really need to work towards getting protective order not established in the first place. Once it is established, getting it dismissed as soon as possible.
Once a Protective Order is established, the Individual Cannot Possess a Weapon
Interviewer: Let’s say I’m a gun enthusiast, what would happen with my current weapons? Would they be taken away?
Danielle Hawkes: You would be responsible for removing them. You can’t have them in your possession, because you’re not licensed to own them at that point. Once provisioned of all 5 of these types of orders is that the judge, aside from the federal licensing requirement the federal government will look at, the judge themselves can restrict your access to gun. That’s discretionary. The federal piece of it is not discretionary.