What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
You can call the police or sheriff immediately, even if you think it is a minor violation. If an abuser violates an order, s/he may be arrested and jailed for up to six months and/or fined up to $1,000.1 Another option is to file civil contempt of court charges against the abuser in the court that issued you the order. However, a person cannot be held in contempt and convicted of a misdemeanor due to the same violation of the order.2 You may wish to speak with an attorney for advice if you want advice on filing for contempt or to find out what the possible penalties can be.
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. 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 in future court cases.
Note: If you let the abuser back into your residence, place of employment or anywhere the protective order prohibits him/her from going, it may be harder to have the order enforced in the future.
For more information about contempt, including the difference between criminal contempt and civil contempt, go to our general Domestic Violence Restraining Orders page.
1 MS Code § 93-21-21(1)
2 MS Code § 93-21-21(2)