What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Mississippi?
This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a domestic violence protective order.
Under Mississippi law, “abuse” means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between spouses, former spouses, persons living as spouses or who formerly lived as spouses, persons having a child in common, other relatives who live together or formerly lived together or between people who have a current or former dating relationship:
- attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury or serious bodily injury with or without a deadly weapon;
- placing, by physical menace or threat, another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury;
- criminal sexual conduct committed against a minor;
- statutory rape;
- rape by force or by drugging the victim; and
- sexual battery.1
Note: “Abuse” does not include any act of self-defense.1
1 MS Code § 93-21-3(a)
What types of protective orders are there? How long do they last?
A protective order is a court order that is designed to stop your abuser from hurting you and your family. There are two types of protective orders.
A temporary order is designed to offer you immediate, emergency protection from the abuser. Temporary orders are granted only if you can prove to the judge through your testimony or petition/affidavit that you need one to prevent immediate harm to you or your family. A judge will assume that if you are asking for a temporary order you will also want a permanent order.
A temporary order generally lasts until the court hearing that you must have in order to receive a permanent order. This usually takes place within ten days after the abuser has been served with the temporary order. If you and the abuser have minor children together, a temporary order can only last up to 30 days, maximum. However, if you do not have minor children together, a temporary protective order can be longer than 30 days, up to a maximum of one year.1
A final order can be issued only after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to tell your sides of the story. It offers longer-term legal protection than the temporary order. A final order can last up until such time that the judge believes is appropriate. The expiration date will be clearly written on the order.2
However, if you are given temporary custody, visitation, or child support in a final protective order, those terms are only effective for 180 days. For a longer-lasting order addressing those issues, you would have to file separate petitions for custody, visitation, or support. If at the end of the 180-day period, neither party has filed a separate petition regarding those issues, the custody, visitation, or support terms will go back to whatever order was in effect regarding those topics when the protective order was granted.3
1 MS Code § 93-21-15(1)(b)
2 MS Code § 93-21-15(2)(b)
3 MS Code § 93-21-15(2)(c)
What protections can I get in a protective order?
A temporary order can:
- order the abuser to stop abusing you, your children, and any person deemed to be incompetent;
- order the abuser to stay away from you and/or your household members and from the home, school, and workplace of you and/or other household members;
- grant you possession of the home and order the abuser to leave the residence (and give you the right to return to the residence if you have left);
- order the abuser not to contact you and/or other household members in person, by phone, email or text; and
- prohibit any mutually owned or leased property between you and the abuser from being transferred or disposed (given away or destroyed), unless it is in the ordinary course of business.1
A permanent order can:
- do all of the things that a temporary order can do (listed above); and
- the following additional things:
- grant you possession of the home and order the abuser to leave the residence (and give you the right to return to the residence if you have left) or, by agreement, allow the abuser to provide you with suitable, alternate housing (when the abuser has a duty to support you or your children, and is the sole owner of the residence or household);
- award temporary custody of or establishing temporary visitation rights for your children;
- order the abuser to pay temporary spousal support or child support if the respondent is legally obligated to support you or your children;
- order the abuser to pay you monetary compensation for losses suffered as a direct result of the abuse, including, but not limited to, medical expenses resulting from such abuse, loss of earnings or support, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained, moving expenses, and reasonable attorney’s fees; and
- order counseling or professional medical treatment for the abuser, including counseling or treatment designed to help end his/her abusive behaviors.1
Note: The protective order will have a warning to the abuser that possessing a firearm may be against federal law. (See our Federal Gun Laws pages for more information). However, to try to get local police to enforce the firearm restriction, you can ask the judge to include in the protective order that the abuser has to hand over any firearms in his/her possession to the authorities and forbid him/her from buying firearms.
1 MS Code § 93-21-15(1)(a) & (2)(a)
Si el agresor vive en otro estado, ¿puedo conseguir una orden en su contra?
Si el/la agresor/a vive en un estado diferente al suyo, el/la juez/a podría no tener “jurisdicción personal” (poder) sobre ese/a agresor/a. Esto significa que es posible que el tribunal no pueda otorgar una orden en contra de él/ella.
Hay algunas formas en las que una corte puede tener jurisdicción personal sobre un/a agresor/a que es de otro estado:
- El/la agresor/a tiene una conexión sustancial a su estado. Quizás el/la agresor/a viaja regularmente a su estado para visitarlo/a, por negocios, para ver la familia extendida, o el/la agresor/a vivía en su estado y huyó recientemente.
- Uno de los actos de maltrato “ocurrió” en su estado. Quizás el/la agresor/a le envía mensajes amenazantes o le hace llamadas acosadoras desde otro estado pero usted lee los mensajes o contesta las llamadas mientras usted está en su estado. El/la juez/a puede decidir que el maltrato “ocurrió” mientras estaba en su estado. También puede ser posible que el/la agresor/a estaba en su estado cuando le maltrató pero desde entonces se fue del estado.
- Otra forma para que la corte adquiera jurisdicción es si usted presenta su petición en el estado donde usted está, y el/la agresor/a recibe notificación de la petición de la corte mientras él/ella está en ese estado.
Sin embargo, aunque nada de esto aplique a su situación, eso no necesariamente significa que usted no pueda conseguir una orden. A usted le pueden dar una orden por consentimiento o el/la juez/a puede encontrar otras circunstancias que permitan que la orden sea dada. Puede leer más sobre jurisdicción personal en nuestra sección de Asuntos Básicos del Sistema Judicial - Jurisdicción Personal.
Nota: Si el/la juez/a de su estado se niega a dar una orden, usted puede pedir una orden en la corte del estado donde vive el/la agresor/a. Sin embargo, recuerde que es probable que usted necesite presentar la petición en persona y asistir a varias citas en la corte, lo cual podría ser difícil si el estado de el/la agresor/a es lejos.