In Georgia, there are two types of Temporary Protective Orders.
The first kind of Temporary Protective Order, also referred to as a Temporary Restraining Order in Georgia, protects individuals from family violence. A family violence protective order may be issued in Georgia whenever there is cause to believe that family violence has occurred in the past or is likely to occur in the future.
The second kind of Temporary Protective Order in Georgia is a stalking temporary protective order and may be issued in Georgia whenever a person follows, puts another person under surveillance or contacts another person for the purpose of harassing or intimidating them.
If you have been threatened, subjected to family violence of been a victim of stalking, you may need to obtain a Temporary Protective Order. Every county in Georgia has a different procedure to obtain a protective order. In some of the larger counties, such as Cobb County, there are volunteers available to assist individuals in obtaining protective orders five days a week. In smaller counties, you may have to make an appointment and wait several days or longer before going in front of a Judge to request a protective order.
Since the need for protective orders often arises in an emergency, most people first obtain an ex-parte Temporary Protective Order before asking the court for a one-year or longer protective order. An ex-parte proceeding is when only one party present. The applicant for a protective order appears before the judge to ask for a protective order without the other party present. Whenever an ex-parte Temporary Protective Order is issued, the Court is required to schedule a second hearing within 30 days where both parties will have an opportunity to present evidence, witnesses and testimony to the judge.
Both types of Temporary Protective Orders are civil orders issued by the Superior Court where the person who is accused of engaging in the family violence or stalking resides. Although a Temporary Protective Order is issued in a civil proceeding, the Order is placed on the 'family violence registry' to which law enforcement personnel have access in order to determine if a particular individual has contact-restrictions. The family violence registry, which is not public record or part of someone's criminal record, is intended to be confidential except for purposes of law enforcement investigation. Even if the TPO is not a public record, it can potentially impact your employment if you are required to disclose family violence or stalking orders to your employer.
Temporary Protective Orders should never be taken lightly. TPOs have serious implications and you should seek legal counsel immediately if a TPO has been issued against you or if you seeking a TPO against another person.