Legal Information: Alabama

Restraining Orders

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February 11, 2022

What is the legal definition of domestic abuse in Alabama?

You can file for an order if you are the victim of domestic abuse, as defined below, or if you have reasonable cause to believe that you are in immediate danger of becoming the victim of any act of abuse.1 Alabama law defines “domestic abuse” for the purpose of getting a protection from abuse order as the occurrence (actual or attempted) of one or more of the following acts between a current or former intimate partner/household member:

  • assault (1st, 2nd, 3rd degrees);
  • arson;
  • rape/sodomy/sexual abuse (see here, scroll to “Article 4. Sexual Offenses” to read all of the crimes included);
  • criminal coercion;
  • harassment;
  • reckless endangerment;
  • child abuse, torture or willful abuse of a child, aggravated child abuse, or chemical endangerment of a child;
  • kidnapping (1st and 2nd degrees);
  • menacing;
  • theft (includes taking unauthorized control or getting control through deception over property owned fully or jointly by you);
  • stalking (1st, 2nd degrees; aggravated stalking);
  • unlawful imprisonment - restraining you against your will (1st and 2nd degrees);
  • criminal trespass (1st, 2nd, 3rd degrees);1 or
  • any other crime against you.2

You will notice that the petition for a PFA doesn’t include “harassment” as a box to check off - however, if you read the legal definition of harassment, you can see how else you may be able to indicate harassment in one of the available check boxes on the petition.

1 Ala. Code § 30-5-5(a)(1)
2 Ala. Code § 30-5-2(1)(a)-(i), (1)(k)-(o)
3 Ala. Code § 30-5-2(1)(j)

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