The punishments for violating a Nashville order of protection can be harsh. Under Tennessee law, a court can consider several different punishments and has some discretion in which punishment it finds appropriate. The possible options include payment of a substantial fine, revoking a grant of bail, and even ordering jail time.

Given the severity of these ramifications, a Nashville order of protection lawyer carefully explains the rules and restrictions involved in any order of protection and gives guidance for how to comply. Despite this information, Nashville orders of protection are violated every day, with a number of defendants claiming they didn’t know their actions were an infringement or violation of the order. In what ways might you unknowingly violate a Nashville order of protection? The legal team at Surber, Asher, Surber & Moushon came up with six.

#1: Sending Messages Over Social Media

Likely you associate a Nashville order of protection with physical distance and remaining so many feet or yards away from the alleged victim. However, an order of protection could require a defendant to refrain from all types of contact with the alleged victim.

The exact requirements and restrictions in an order of protection are dictated by the court and can be more or less severe. However, in today’s digital world, it’s common for contact by phone, email, and even social media to be restricted in a Nashville order of protection.

#2: Going to a Shared Place of Employment

If you live or work with the alleged victim of an order of protection, then these shared places of accommodation and employment become stumbling blocks for compliance. Simply, you can’t go to your house or workplace without violating the order, and that includes going to a place of employment to complete your own job duties and responsibilities. Further, courts are reluctant to amend or refine a Nashville order of protection, even if your job is at risk.

#3: Not Complying with Child Visitation Rules

If you share minor children with the alleged victim, it is very likely that a Nashville order of protection will include restrictions on how and when you see and interact with your children. In most instances, the court will set strict visitation requirements and timeframes, which must be perfectly followed. The restrictions on child visitation could even include awarding sole custody, care, and control to the alleged victim.

If you violate the restrictions on child visitation and custody, even if the alleged victim isn’t involved in the interaction, you could be punished for violating the Nashville order of protection. As well, not paying child support is often a violation of orders of protection in Tennessee.

#4: Not Paying Your Bills

Child support is only one of the bills you need to pay in a timely manner under a Nashville order of protection. You must also pay your mortgage, utility bills, insurance premiums, and rent, in full and on time. Often, clients ask a Nashville order of protection lawyer if this requirement applies in the event you are required to vacate a home, apartment, or other living situation with the alleged victim. The answer: yes, if a domestic partner, spouse, or roommate takes out an order of protection and you need to vacate the home, you must still pay your share of the bills.

#5: Answering Emails from the Alleged Victim

One of the trickiest situations for a defendant under a Nashville order of protection is not responding to contact or communication initiated by the alleged victim. At Surber, Asher, Suber & Moushon, we understand that domestic relationships are complicated and complex. We’ve worked with many clients who were the defendants to an order of protection, only to have the alleged victim initiate contact.

No matter how or why the alleged victim reaches out, you can’t respond. Even sending an email could be a violation of the Nashville order of protection and result in punishment.

#6: Buying or Possessing a Gun

Not all orders of protection will restrict gun ownership, purchase, and possession, but some do. This is a requirement that should be carefully and clearly discussed with your lawyer, to be certain you follow the restriction. If you are uncertain how possessing a gun would impact your order of protection or whether buying a gun would be a violation, speak with your Nashville order of protection lawyer.

Ask an Order of Protection Lawyer

Do you have other questions about a Nashville order of protection or the language in an order of protection issued against you? The legal team at Surber, Asher, Surber & Moushon regularly works with defendants looking to prevent and lift orders of protection in Tennessee. Call Gabrielle Mees at 615-997-1932 for more information and to learn how we can help.