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Know the Laws: Louisiana

UPDATED April 14, 2017

Protective Orders (for Domestic Abuse)

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A protective order is a civil order that provides protection from a family or household member or a dating partner.

Basic information

back to topWhat is the legal definition of domestic abuse in Louisiana?

This section defines domestic violence/abuse for the purposes of getting a protective order.  "Domestic abuse" includes, but is not limited to, one or more of the following acts between "family members" or "household members" or "dating partners":

  1. physical abuse;
  2. sexual abuse;
  3. stalking, cyberstalking or any other offense (physical or non-physical) in the Criminal Code of Louisiana (except for negligent injury and defamation) - you can read the Criminal Code of Louisiana on the LA Legislature website; and
  4. elder abuse, which is defined as "abuse or neglect" of an adult committed by an adult child or adult grandchild.*

* LA R.S. 46:2132(4)

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back to topWhat types of protective orders are there? How long do they last?

There are three types of protective orders:

Emergency Temporary Restraining Orders: If you are in need of emergency protection outside of regular court hours, the court may grant you an emergency temporary restraining order if there is an "immediate and present danger of abuse." The judge must consider any and all past history of abuse, or threats of abuse, in determining whether or not there is an immediate and present danger of abuse. (There is no requirement that the abuse itself be recent, immediate, or present.)  If you are issued this order, it will only be good until the close of the next business day that the court is open. For the protection to remain in effect, you must go to court before the close of the next business day to request a temporary restraining order and/or a protective order.*

Temporary Restraining Orders: When you go to court to file for a long-term protective order, you can also ask for a temporary restraining order (TRO). The court may issue you a TRO during an ex parte hearing without the abuser present if there is an "immediate and present danger of abuse." The judge must consider any and all past history of abuse, or threats of abuse, in determining whether or not there is an immediate and present danger of abuse. (There is no requirement that the abuse itself be recent, immediate, or present.)  As soon as a TRO is issued, the abuser will be notified that you have an order against him/her. The court will give you a date (usually within 21 days) for a full court hearing where you and the abuser each have a chance to be present and tell your sides of the story.**

Long-term Protective Orders: A long-term protective order can be issued only after a court hearing where you and the abuser both have the opportunity to tell your sides of the story to a judge. You must attend that hearing.  If you do not go to the hearing, your TRO may expire and you will have to start the process over.  A long-term order will last for up to 18 months, unless otherwise stated.***  However, the part of the order that says the abuser should not "abuse, harass, or interfere with the petitioner or his/her employment; should not go near the residence or place of employment of the petitioner, the minor children, or any person on whose behalf a the petition was filed" can last for an indefinite (unlimited) period of time.****  Orders may also be extended.  See How do I change, extend, or cancel my protective order?

* LA R.S. 46:2135(A),(F)
** LA R.S. 46:2135(A)
*** LA R.S. 46:2136(F)(1)
**** LA R.S. 46:2136(F)(2)(a); see also LA R.S. 46:2135(A)(1)

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back to topHow can a protective order help me?

In a temporary restraining order, a judge may order the abuser to:

  • Stop threatening, harassing, or hurting you;
  • Not contact or interfere with you or your children (and give you temporary custody);
  • Stay away from your residence, place of employment, school, etc.;
  • Prevent you and the abuser from giving away, selling, or destroying any mutually-owned property;
  • Move out of the residence (if you live together);
    • Note: If the abuser solely owns or leases the house or apartment, s/he may not be asked to move out;
  • Return your personal property to you; and/or
  • Give you possession of your pet or order the abuser to stop abusing your pet.

In a long-term protective order (after a full hearing), a judge may:

  • Order all of the relief listed above (in the temporary restraining order section);
  • Establish temporary visitation;
  • Award you temporary support;
  • Order the abuser to attend counseling or get a professional medical evaluation;
  • Order the abuser to pay court costs and other fees, such as expert witness fees, medical bills and/or psychological bills.*

Note: Louisiana law prohibits the defendant (abuser) from possessing a firearm while the long-term protective order is in effect if the order includes a finding that the defendant represents a credible (believable) threat to the petitioner's physical safety and the order includes a notice to the defendant about this law and the federal firearm law.**

*  LA R.S. §§ 46:2135; 46:2136
**  LA R.S. § 46:2136.3

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back to topIn which parish can I file for a protective order?

You can file for a protective order in the parish where the marital home is located (or the home you shared with the abuser if you are unmarried), where you live, where the abuser lives, where the abuse occurred, or where divorce or annulment proceedings could be filed.*

* LA R.S. 46:2133(B)

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