What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
Through the Police or Sheriff (Criminal): If the abuser violates the protective order, you can call 911 immediately. Tell the officers you have a TRO or a protective order and the defendant is violating it. The law says that if a law enforcement officer has reason to believe that a family or household member or dating partner has been abused in violation of a temporary or final restraining order/protective order, the officer is supposed to immediately arrest the abuser.1 If the abuser is arrested, and found guilty of a violation, s/he can be forced to pay a fine and/or go to jail. The penalties can vary, depending on whether or not it is his/her first conviction for violation of a protective order or not. The penalty increases for a second (or third, fourth, etc.) conviction as well as the penalty can be more severe if the violation involves battery or any crime of violence.2 To read about the penalties, go to our LA Statutes page.
Even if the police do not arrest at the scene, law enforcement officers are supposed to at least issue a summons to the abuser if there is probable cause that the order was violated.3
Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. (If no arrest is made, you may still be able to file a criminal complaint against the abuser.) If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it may help you have the order extended or modified. It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case.
Through the Civil Court System (Civil): You may file for civil contempt for a violation of the order. The abuser can be held in "civil contempt" if s/he does anything that your protective order orders him/her not to do.4
1 LA R.S. 46:2140(A)
2 LA R.S. 14:79(B)
3 LA R.S. 14:79(E)
4 See LA R.S. 46:2137