What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
Through the Police or Sheriff (Criminal). If the abuser violates the protection order, you can call 911 to report it to law enforcement. Tell the officers you have a protection order and the abuser is violating it. The abuser can be arrested and prosecuted. Violation of an order can be a Class 1 misdemeanor or, if the violation involves simple assault, aggravated assault, or stalking, it is a Class 6 felony.1 To see the other reasons that a violation of an order of protection can be a Class 6 felony or higher, read section 25-10-13 on our Selected South Dakota Statutes page.
It is generally 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. Also make sure that the police write a report on the incident even if the abuser is not arrested. This could be valuable legal documentation if you need to prove a violation of the order in the future. If the police do not arrest the abuser, you may be able to file a criminal complaint yourself. You can call your local police department or district court to obtain a complaint form.
Through the Civil Court System (Civil). You may also file for civil contempt for a violation of the order. The abuser is in “civil contempt” if s/he does anything that your protection order tells him or her not to do. To file for civil contempt, go to the clerk’s office in the court that issued your order and ask for the petition.
For more information about contempt, including the difference between criminal contempt and civil contempt, go to our general Domestic Violence Restraining Orders page.
1 SDCL § 25-10-13