What if the abuser violates the order?
If you believe that the abuser has violated the protective order, you can immediately call 911. Also, you can call your attorney if you have one or an advocate or lawyer at a domestic violence organization. You can also let the court know about the violation. The violation of an order can be a misdemeanor crime, which can be punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $25,000.1
According to Alaska law the police are supposed to make an arrest (although there are exceptions) if:
- you report the violation within 12 hours after it happened; and
- the police have "probable cause" (a reasonable belief/likelihood) to believe the crime occurred.2
In figuring out if there is probable cause, officers may talk to you, the abuser, and any other witnesses, examine the place where the violation happened, and consider other relevant factors.
The violation does not have to occur while an officer is there for the arrest to be made.3 If you report the incident after the first 12 hours, an arrest without a warrant can still be made if there is probable cause to believe that a crime occurred, however it is not mandatory.
Note: Aside from dealing with a violation, if a police officer receives complaints of any incidents of domestic violence from more than one person arising from the same incident, the police are supposed to arrest only the "primary aggressor" (the more violent person), not the victim trying to defend herself.4 The law prohibits a police officer from threatening to arrest everyone who is present at the domestic violence incident.5 A police officer who does not make an arrest after a domestic violence incident, or who arrests more than one person from a single incident, must put in writing the reasons for her/his actions.6
When the police arrive, it is generally a good idea to write down the name of the officer(s) that are there and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case. Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it may help you have the order extended or modified (changed) in the future.
1 Alaska Statute § 18.66.130(b)
2 Alaska Statute § 18.65.530(a)(2)
3 Alaska Statute § 18.65.530(a)
4 Alaska Statute § 18.65.530(b)
5 Alaska Statute § 18.65.530(d)
6 Alaska Statute § 18.65.530(e)