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 questions on this page to see if judges in Montana 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?
Here are some possible ideas of things you may want to do when preparing to leave the courthouse. Not all will apply to everyone. Please consider which ones you think may help you.
- Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk how to correct the order before you leave.
- Make several copies of the order as soon as possible.
- Keep a copy of the 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 picture 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 (if permitted by law) and your phone number.
Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the 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 batterers obey orders of protection, but some do not. It is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. For more information please visit the Safety Tips page. Advocates at local domestic violence programs can assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support. To find help near you, visit our MT Advocates and Shelters page.
I was denied an order of protection. What can I do?
If you are not granted an order of protection, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It is a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence victim agencies in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They can help you come up with a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. To find a shelter or an advocate at a local program, please visit our MT Advocates and Shelters page. You will also find information on safety planning on our Safety Tips page.
You may also be able to reapply for an order of protection if a new incident of domestic abuse occurs after you are denied the order.
What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
If you believe that the abuser has violated the order of protection, you can call 911. If the police arrive and believe the abuser has violated the order, the abuser can be arrested. It can be against the law to violate any order of protection (temporary or permanent). When the police arrive, it may be a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge numbers 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 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.
What happens if I move?
Federal law provides what is called “full faith and credit,” which means that once you have an order of protection, it follows you wherever you go in the United States, including U.S. territories and tribal lands.
Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state orders. In some states, it may make it easier to enforce an order that is registered in the new state. You can find out about your new state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of courts, or the prosecutor in your new area. To read more about moving out of Montana with an order of protection, please visit our Moving to Another State with a Montana Order of Protection 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)