DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDERS
Alaska allows victims of domestic violence to apply for and receive both short-term and long-term domestic violence restraining orders or protective orders. The short-term order is typically for 20 days and a long-term order is typically for a period of 1 year.
In order to get a domestic violence restraining order in Alaska the party that committed the violence must be what the law defines as a “household member” of the party filing for a restraining order. Household members include, former and current spouses, parties that live together or have lived together in the past, anyone in a current or former dating or sexual relationship, blood relatives, parties related in anyway by marriage, and minor children of any person described previously.
Acts of domestic violence are broadly defined in Alaska and include any crime against a person (murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault, reckless endangerment, stalking, kidnapping, custodial interference, human trafficking, sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor, incest, enticement/exploitation of a minor, indecent exposure, robbery, extortion, coercion), burglary, criminal trespass, arson or criminally negligent burning, criminal mischief (destruction of property), terroristic threats, violating an existing protective order, and harassment (telephone calls meant to impair ability to make calls, repeated calls at inconvenient hours, anonymous or obscene telephone calls or electronic communication (email), or telephone calls or electronic communications that threaten physical injury or sexual contact.)
WHAT DOES A PROTECTIVE ORDER DO?
There are many remedies available from the court if you file for a protective order and it is granted. The available remedies are:
(1) prohibit the respondent from threatening to commit or committing domestic violence, stalking, or harassment;
(2) prohibit the respondent from telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating directly or indirectly with the petitioner;
(3) remove and exclude the respondent from the residence of the petitioner, regardless of ownership of the residence;
(4) direct the respondent to stay away from the residence, school, or place of employment of the petitioner or any specified place frequented by the petitioner or any designated household member;
(5) prohibit the respondent from entering a propelled vehicle in the possession of or occupied by the petitioner;
(6) prohibit the respondent from using or possessing a deadly weapon if the court finds the respondent was in the actual possession of or used a weapon during the commission of domestic violence;
(7) direct the respondent to surrender any firearm owned or possessed by the respondent if the court finds that the respondent was in the actual possession of or used a firearm during the commission of the domestic violence;
(8) request a peace officer to accompany the petitioner to the petitioner’s residence to ensure that the petitioner
(A) safely obtains possession of the petitioner’s residence, vehicle, or personal items; and
(B) is able to safely remove a vehicle or personal items from the petitioner’s residence;
(9) award temporary custody of a minor child to the petitioner and may arrange for visitation with a minor child if the safety of the child and the petitioner can be protected; if visitation is allowed, the court may order visitation under the conditions provided in AS 25.20.061;
(10) give the petitioner possession and use of a vehicle and other essential personal items, regardless of ownership of the items;
(11) prohibit the respondent from consuming controlled substances;
(12) require the respondent to pay support for the petitioner or a minor child in the care of the petitioner if there is an independent legal obligation of the respondent to support the petitioner or child;
(13) require the respondent to reimburse the petitioner or other person for expenses associated with the domestic violence, including medical expenses, counseling, shelter, and repair or replacement of damaged property;
(14) require the respondent to pay costs and fees incurred by the petitioner in bringing the action under this chapter;
(15) order the respondent, at the respondent’s expense, to participate in (A) a program for the rehabilitation of perpetrators of domestic violence that meets the standards set by, and that is approved by, the Department of Corrections under AS 44.28.020(b), or (B) treatment for the abuse of alcohol or controlled substances, or both; a protective order under this section may not require a respondent to participate in a program for the rehabilitation of perpetrators of domestic violence unless the program meets the standards set by, and that is approved by, the Department of Corrections under AS 44.28.020(b);
(16) order other relief the court determines necessary to protect the petitioner or any household member.
The court typically will request from the filing party the relief they want in the protective order and the orders can vary in restrictions. If you are contemplating filing for a domestic violence restraining order, you should speak with an attorney prior to filing.
HOW TO GET A RESTRAINING ORDER OR PROTECTIVE ORDER IN ALASKA?
If you believe that you have been the victim of domestic violence and wish to seek a protective order preventing someone from having contact with you or your child or ward, you need to file the appropriate paperwork with your local court.
If you are located in Anchorage, the Boney courthouse located at 303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501 has an office on the first floor that deals with domestic violence restraining orders in Anchorage.
If you live in a community different than Anchorage, check with your local clerk’s office to see how they accept domestic violence filings.
Also, the Alaska court system has forms available online, including petitions for restraining orders. The website is: http://www.courts.alaska.gov/forms/. The petitions for a domestic violence protective order are numbered DV-100 & 127(multiple petitioners) http://www.courtrecords.alaska.gov/webdocs/forms/dv-100-127-one.pdf & http://www.courtrecords.alaska.gov/webdocs/forms/dv-100-127-multi.pdf.
I’VE JUST BEEN SERVED WITH A PROTECTIVE ORDER, WHAT DO I DO?
If you have been served with a domestic violence protective order in Alaska, you need to note the restrictions placed upon you in the order. If you fail to abide by the terms of the order, you may face criminal charges and a violation of that order is also considered a crime of domestic violence, which is a valid basis for the court to issue a long-term order.
You are strongly advised to contact an attorney immediately once you have been served with a domestic violence restraining order.
Do not ignore the order thinking it will just go away. The court most likely scheduled a long-term hearing, which is usually at least 10 days after the issuance of the short-term order. The long-term hearing is where you will be able to present you side of the story regarding what is alleged in the petition that was filed against you. If you ignore the order and fail to appear at the long-term hearing, the court will most likely issue a long-term protective order against you.
If you wait until just a few days before the scheduled hearing to talk to an attorney you are placing yourself at a disadvantage. Further, if you also have a pending criminal charge related to the domestic violence restraining order, you need to contact an attorney immediately. If you appear and testify at the long-term hearing, you are placing yourself at risk for incriminating yourself at further criminal proceedings.
CONSEQUENCES OF A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTIVE ORDER IN ALASKA
There are many consequences associated with a protective order in Alaska. If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstances where you were served with a protective order, you should contact an attorney immediately.
If the court grants a long-term order against you, there is the possibility that under federal law you will lose your firearm rights. That includes possession and purchase of firearms for life. See 18 U.S.C. 922(g) also known as the Lautenberg Amendments. Similarly, if you are in a branch of the armed forces or involved in law enforcement, you may face discharge or other negative employment consequences.
If you have an existing custody case in Alaska or elsewhere, whether it is open or closed, a long-term restraining order most likely will have negative impacts in your custody case including, but not limited to, preventing you from seeing your child(ren) or restricting you to supervised visitation. Also, a finding of domestic violence is grounds for modification of an existing custody order in Alaska.
Many employers also look negatively on domestic violence restraining orders and have terminated employees because of protective orders or refused to hire based upon previous domestic violence protective orders in Alaska.
These are some examples of the collateral consequences of a domestic violence protective order in Alaska but it is not meant to be a complete list. You are strongly encouraged to contact an experienced Alaska domestic violence attorney as soon as possible if you have been served with a domestic violence protective order.
If you are contemplating filing a domestic violence protective order in Alaska or if you have been served with a domestic violence protective order, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. The Law Office of Evan Barrickman, P.C. has litigated domestic violence protective orders in Anchorage as well as other communities in Alaska representing both petitioners and respondents. Contact an experienced and aggressive domestic violence attorney, the Law Office of Evan Barrickman, P.C.