If someone has obtained, or is attempting to obtain, a protective order against you in Georgia, you may worry about how this could affect your future. You may wonder how it might show up on your criminal record, what it might do to your career and life or how this order might apply in other states.
Understanding state law about these concerns may help you plan the best course of action.
What protective orders does Georgia issue?
As GeorgiaLegalAid.org explains, there are two types of protective order in Georgia, and which one a court considers will depend on your relationship to the other party and the type of behavior in question. Family violence protective orders are appropriate for violent or threatening behavior between romantic partners (current or past), co-parents, immediate family members or those who live in the same household. For other relationships, the other party may seek a stalking restraining order to prevent you from contacting or coming near them.
Both of these orders will dictate a set amount of time during which you may not contact or approach the other party if the judge grants it. Each party will be able to present their case during the hearing before a judge makes a decision.
Will a protective order show up on a criminal record?
When a court issues a protective order, this is not the same as a criminal conviction, and it will not show up on a criminal record. However, there are some situations when the other party may pursue criminal charges instead of or in addition to a protective order. You should also keep in mind that a violation of the order may result in a criminal conviction or jail time, and these will show up on a criminal record.
You also may lose your right to own a gun or have other restraints with which you will need to comply. Failing to comply with all parts of the order could result in criminal charges.
Will a protective order prevent me from getting a job or housing?
While a protective order is not the same as a criminal conviction in itself, the court proceedings will probably still be available as public record. Most career background checks will only screen for criminal convictions, but more intensive checks — such as a check to work with children or for a job that requires security clearance — may uncover these records.
Having a protective order against you in itself does not make you a sex offender, and it will not affect your credit score. Thus it should not prevent you from getting housing in most cases. However, there are circumstances when it could affect your housing prospects. For example, if you live with or near the person who obtains an order against you, he or she may be able to have your landlord evict you.
Do Georgia protective orders apply in other states?
Georgia protective orders do apply in other states. Under federal law, as long as the order is legally valid, all 50 states must offer reciprocal treatment of orders from other states.