Violating a domestic violence protection order involves non-compliance with legally set boundaries intended to safeguard individuals in Nebraska from harm. The consequences of a violation range from significant fines to potential imprisonment, escalating in severity for repeat offenses. Below, Liberty Law Group goes over important information about this law, including penalties, potential defenses, and the role of a criminal defense lawyer in these cases.

Violation of a Protection Order Attorney in Omaha

At Liberty Law Group, our criminal defense attorneys are skilled at handling protection order violations. Whether you are unduly limited by a protection order, found yourself in accidental violation of a protection order or were blindsided by a violation notice, Liberty Law Group is ready to review the facts and fight for your rights as a citizen.

Our firm proudly serves the communities of Lincoln, Omaha, Papillion, and Council Bluffs. This includes the counties of Lancaster, Douglas, Sarpy, Washington, Dodge, Saunders, and Cass in Nebraska as well as Pattawattamie, Harrison, and Mills in Iowa.

If you or a loved one has been charged or is under investigation for violating a protection order, feel free to call our firm immediately at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.

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What is a Violation of a Protection Order in Nebraska?

According to Nebraska Revised Statute §42-924, a violation of a domestic violence protection order occurs when the individual against whom the order is issued, known as the respondent, knowingly disobeys its terms.

The order can forbid several actions by the respondent, including:

  • Restricting the petitioner’s (the protected individual’s) movements or liberty. This means the respondent cannot limit the petitioner’s freedom in any manner.
  • Engaging in behaviors like threatening, assaulting, molesting, attacking, or otherwise disturbing the petitioner’s peace. This encompasses any form of harassment or aggression.
  • Initiating contact with the petitioner, whether by phone, message, or any other means of communication, if making contact is prohibited by the order.
  • Entering or staying in the petitioner’s home, irrespective of ownership, if the order forbids such presence.
  • Approaching or being near any location the court has specifically instructed the respondent to avoid, such as the petitioner’s workplace, home, or children’s school.
  • Disregarding court-ordered temporary custody terms regarding any minor children involved.
  • Possessing or attempting to purchase firearms if the order includes a ban on such activities.
  • Non-compliance with court directives related to household pets, including harming or endangering them, if covered in the order.

Any specific action or conduct that the court has clearly prohibited in the protection order falls under the category of a violation too. The overarching goal of these orders is to protect the safety and well-being of the petitioner and any designated family or household members.

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What are the Penalties for Violation of a Domestic Violence Protection Order in Nebraska?

For a first-time offender, the violation of a domestic violence protection order is classified as a Class I misdemeanor. The penalties for a Class I misdemeanor include a potential jail term of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

However, the severity of the offense increases for repeat offenders. An individual convicted of violating an order who has a prior conviction for violating a protection order is guilty of a Class IV felony. Under Nebraska Revised Statute §28-105, the penalties for a Class IV felony include a prison term ranging from 0-2 years, followed by 9 to 12 months of post-release supervision, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

In Nebraska, an individual charged with the offense of violating a domestic violence protection order may be eligible for probation, including pre-plea and post-plea programs, as an alternative to a jail sentence. Probation involves specific conditions set by the court, which may include counseling, maintaining employment, and regular check-ins with a probation officer. The Lancaster County Intensive Supervision Diversion and Veterans Diversion Program programs include violations of a protection order as an eligible offense. Similarly, the Mental Health Diversion program in Lancaster County is available for those with certain felony offenses, including violation of a protection order, provided there is a diagnosis of severe mental illness. Successful completion of these programs can lead to the dismissal of charges.

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What are Potential Defenses?

One defense is the lack of knowledge of the protection order. If the accused individual were not properly served with the protection order, or if there was no reasonable opportunity to become aware of its existence and terms, this could serve as a valid defense. In these cases, the accused can argue that they were not knowingly in violation of the order, as they were unaware of it being issued or its specific provisions.

Another potential defense is accidental contact. This applies in situations where the accused might have inadvertently violated the order, such as unknowingly being in the same public place as the petitioner. In such instances, the defense would need to demonstrate that the contact was unintentional, and that the accused made reasonable efforts to avoid contact upon becoming aware of the petitioner’s presence.

The defense of necessity or emergency is also relevant. This applies if the accused violated the order to prevent a significant and imminent harm, for example, to aid the petitioner or a child in an emergency situation. In such scenarios, the defense would need to prove that the violation was necessary to prevent a greater harm and that no reasonable alternative was available.

Additionally, the defense of false accusation can be raised. This occurs when the accused asserts that the petitioner falsely claimed a violation of the order. In these situations, it is crucial to provide evidence or testimony that contradicts the petitioner’s allegations and supports the innocence of the accused.

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What Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do for Someone Facing Charges?

A criminal defense lawyer in Nebraska helps clients who are charged with domestic violence crimes, including violations of domestic violence protection orders. The lawyer first ensures the accused understands the specific nature of the charges and the potential consequences. This involves explaining Nebraska’s legal definition of a protection order violation and the penalties associated with it, whether it’s a Class I misdemeanor or a Class IV felony for repeat offenses.

The attorney then examines the evidence and circumstances of the case to develop a strong defense strategy. The lawyer also explores alternatives to jail time, such as probation or participation in programs like the Lancaster County Intensive Supervision Diversion and Veterans Diversion Program.

Throughout the legal process, the lawyer provides guidance, represents the accused in court, negotiates with prosecutors, and works hard to achieve the most favorable outcome for their client, whether through trial defense, plea bargaining, or diversion programs.

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Additional Resources

Nebraska Protection Order Form Guide – The State of Nebraska’s Judicial Branch offers an online resource that includes forms necessary to apply for a protection order. This guide provides detailed information on the different types of protection orders available through the Nebraska courts. It also includes instructions on how to properly complete these forms and where to file them, making the process more accessible and understandable for individuals seeking protection.

Nebraska Protection Order Frequently Asked Questions – The Nebraska Supreme Court provides an online self-help center that addresses frequently asked questions regarding protection orders. This resource offers general information about what individuals can expect when filing a protection order in Nebraska. The site also includes helpful links and additional resources for further assistance.

Nebraska Protection Order Laws – Provided by the Nebraska Legislature, this online statute details the requirements, eligibility, and procedures related to obtaining a protection order in Nebraska. It also outlines the penalties for violating a protection order and the methods of enforcement.

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Hiring a Defense Attorney for Protection Order Violations in Nebraska | Liberty Law Group

At Liberty Law Group, our attorneys have decades of experience defending clients that have been accused of violating a protection agreement. In many cases, the reason for violation is lack of knowledge or accident. In other cases, protection orders can go further than necessary, making it difficult to work, find employment and move around in your own city. If you’ve been accused of violating a protection order or were recently served a notice, our criminal defense team is here to help defend your rights as a free member of the public.

Our firm proudly serves the communities of Omaha, Lincoln and surrounding areas of Douglas and Lancaster Counties, Nebraska. This includes Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie, Iowa and surrounding communities. If you or a loved one has been accused of violating a protection order in Nebraska, call our office at (402) 865-0501 to request a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case with one of our attorneys.

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