Can the abuser have a gun?
Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession. There are a few places where you can find this information:
- First, read the question on this page to see if judges in Louisiana have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order.
- Second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
- Third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.
You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website.
What should I do when I leave the courthouse?
Review the protective order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, you might be able to ask the clerk how to get it corrected. Here are some things that you may want to do when leaving the courthouse:
- Keep a copy of the protective order with you at all times.
- Leave copies of the order at your workplace, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
- Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
- Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
- If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, you may want to take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
- You may wish to consider changing your locks and your phone number if permitted by law.
- Be aware of your safety while leaving the courthouse. If you are concerned that the abuser may try to approach you, contact a court officer to see if you can be accompanied to your car.
Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the protective order. People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many abusers obey protective orders, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. View our Safety Planning page for some suggestions. Advocates at local resource centers can assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support. For a list of domestic violence organizations, see our LA Advocates and Shelters page.
I was not granted a protective order. What are my options?
If you applied for a protective order and the judge didn’t grant it, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence local programs in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They can help you develop a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. For safety planning help, ideas, and information, go to our Safety Planning page.
If you were not granted a protective order because your relationship with the abuser does not qualify as a “family or household member” or “dating partner,” you may be able to seek protection through a sexual assault protective order or a protective order for stalking.
You may also be able to reapply for a protective order if a new incident of domestic abuse occurs after you are denied the order.
If you believe the judge made an error of law, you can talk to a lawyer about the possibility of an appeal. Generally, appeals are complicated and you will most likely need the help of a lawyer. See our Filing an Appeal page for basic information on appeals.
What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
If the abuser violates the protective order, you can call 911 immediately. 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 It is also considered a violation of protective order if the abuser has a firearm in his/her possession or if s/he is carrying a concealed weapon in violation of the law that prohibits firearm possession when certain long-term orders are in effect.2
Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. 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 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.
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, third, fourth, etc., conviction as well as the penalty can be more severe if the violation involves battery or any crime of violence.4 To read about the penalties, go to our Selected Louisiana Statutes page.
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.5
1 LA R.S. 46:2140(A)
2 LA R.S. 14:79(A)(4)
3 LA R.S. 14:79(E)
4 LA R.S. 14:79(B)
5 See, for example, LA ST Ch.C. Art. 1571
How do I change or extend my protective order?
If you wish to change (modify) the terms of the order, a “Request to Modify” can be filed. A judge can remove any item included in the current protectvie order, or s/he can add any term that could have been included in the order permitted under the law.1 If your order is “indefinite” with no end date, the abuser could file to modify the indefinite term and the judge would set the matter down for a hearing. There must be a “good faith effort” made to give you notice of this hearing to the victim.2
If you want to extend your protective order, you must file for the extension before your original order expires. The judge has the power to decide how long the extension will be for.3
1 LA R.S. 46:2136(D)(1)
2 LA R.S. 46:2136(F)(2)(c)
3 LA R.S. 46:2136(F)(1)
What happens if I move? Is the order still enforceable?
Your civil protection order is enforceable in all U.S. states and territories. The law requires that all other states give “full faith and credit” to the order, meaning that it will be enforced just like it would be in Louisiana. However, each state has its own laws and procedures.
Any person with a valid protection order, which means an order that has not expired, who relocates to another state may want to inquire at a court or law enforcement agency for instructions on the registration and enforcement of orders in that state. For more information, see our Moving to Another State with a Domestic Violence Protective Order page.
If I get a protection order, will it show up in an internet search?
According to federal law, which applies to all states, territories, and tribal lands, the courts are not supposed to make available publicly on the internet any information that would be likely to reveal your identity or location. This applies to all of these documents:
- the petition you file;
- the protection order, restraining order, or injunction that was issued by the court; or
- the registration of an order in a different state.1
1 18 USC § 2265(d)(3)