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Know the Laws: Georgia

UPDATED September 29, 2016

Stalking Protective Orders

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A stalking protective order is a civil order issued by the court to protect you from the stalking behavior of another person, regardless of your relationship to that person.

Basic information

back to topWhat is the legal definition of stalking in Georgia?

Stalking is defined as when someone does any of the following without your permission for the purpose of “harassing or intimidating” you:

  • follows you;
  • places you under surveillance; or
  • contacts you (in person, by phone, email, computer or other electronic device, etc.).* 
“Harassing or intimidating” you means that the stalker does repeated acts that cause you emotional distress by placing you in reasonable fear for your safety or the safety of a member of your immediate family (and the acts serve no legitimate purpose).  There does not have to be a specific threat of death or bodily injury.*

* O.C.G.A. § 16-5-90(a)(1)

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back to topHow can a stalking protective order help me?

An ex parte temporary order can do any of the following:

  • Order the respondent to stop stalking, harassing you or interfering with you and your immediate family;
  • Order the respondent to stay a certain number of yards away from you;
  • Order the respondent to have no contact, directly or indirectly, with you and your immediate family.*
A final protective order can do any of the following:
  • Order all of the protections listed above;
  • Order the respondent (or you) to get psychiatric or psychological services to prevent continued stalking in the future; and
  • Order the respondent to pay your attorney’s fees (or, if you lose the case, order that you pay the respondent’s attorney’s fees).**
Note: If the stalker is also arrested for stalking, you also have the right to be notified when bail hearings are scheduled and when the stalker is released from custody if you provide the court with a landline telephone number.***

* O.C.G.A. § 16-5-94(d); see GA Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority, petition for a stalking ex parte temporary protective order
** O.C.G.A. § 16-5-94(d); see GA Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority, petition for a stalking twelve month protective order
*** O.C.G.A. § 16-5-93

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back to topWhat types of stalking protective orders are there and how long do they last?

When you file for a protective order, if the judge believes that stalking has happened in the past and that it may likely happen again in the future, the judge can issue a temporary ex parte order to protect you.  An ex parte order can be issued by the court without the presence of the stalker (respondent).  After the court issues an ex parte order, a hearing must be held within 30 days, at which point you and the respondent will have a chance to prove your case, and the judge will decide whether or not to issue a final order.**  A final order will generally last for up to one year.  However, you can later file a motion (legal papers) asking that it be extended for up to three years or permanently.***  For more information on how to extend the order, we suggest that you talk to a lawyer.  Go to our GA Finding a Lawyer page for free and paid legal services.

* O.C.G.A. § 16-5-94(d)
** O.C.G.A. §§ 16-5-94(e); 19-13-3(c)
*** O.C.G.A. §§ 16-5-94(e); 19-13-4(c)

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