Fighting for Victims of Domestic Violence in Missouri
It is estimated that nearly 42% of women and 35% of men in the state of Missouri have experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner, or will experience it at some point in their lifetime (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 2020). These statistics, while tragic, also point to a serious problem.
Our team at Pingel Family Law is here to fight for the rights and legal protection of victims of domestic abuse. Legal action against a perpetrator of domestic violence may be possible if a person has reasonable cause to believe that they are in imminent danger and the court agrees that an immediate and present danger exists.
Please do not hesitate to seek help if you can—you are always welcome to contact us even if you simply have questions or don’t know where else to start.
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Under Missouri and most state laws, domestic violence is a crime that takes place between individuals who live and/or have a child together, such as partners, spouses, ex-spouses, relatives, caregivers, and even roommates.
Domestic violence (DV) is a serious issue that goes far beyond an argument, discipline, or your typical marital bickering. DV is a form of physical and or mental abuse used as a means to control or intimidate the victim—and it is illegal. Contrary to popular belief, domestic violence can be perpetrated or experienced by a person of any gender, class, and background.
Examples of Domestic Violence
An act of domestic violence may include:
- Financial abuse (controlling or restricting access to money)
- Isolating someone from their friends and family
- Kidnapping or false imprisonment
- Physical assault or battery
- Sexual assault or battery
- Stalking or monitoring communication
- Verbal abuse (blame, coercion, threats)
- Withholding medical help or assistive devices
If you or a loved one are experiencing domestic violence, you can visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website for immediate help.
Yes. Perpetrators of domestic violence may face anywhere from 1 year in prison to a life sentence, depending on the severity of the abuse as determined by a court. Repeat offenders are likely to face heavier sentences. Perpetrators may also face steep fines on top of their jail time.
What is the role of courts in domestic violence situations?
Kansas City has its own designated Domestic Violence Court (DVC) which offers the following services to victims of domestic violence:
- Victim advocates who may accompany you to court
- Offender surveillance and accountability programs
The court will also be responsible for trying your case and upholding and enforcing any punishments the offender faces following a criminal conviction.
An Order of Protection prohibits the offender from continuing in their abuse of the victim. It can also prohibit abusers from communicating with, threatening, or stalking their victim. In some cases offenders may also be required to surrender firearms and attend an intervention program for substance abuse.
How to get an Order of Protection in Missouri
In order to get a domestic violence protection order you will need to file the proper paperwork with the court. If you live in Kansas City or elsewhere in Jackson County, you will need to file for an Order of Protection with the 16th Circuit Court. This can be done online, or in person at the courthouse. In emergency situations you should go directly to the police department and file a petition for an order of protection in person.
If you are concerned for the safety of your child and they have been victims of domestic violence, you may also file a Child Order of Protection on their behalf in the same manner.
In some cases you may need to get an immediate Order of Protection for your own safety or for your children’s safety. In instances like this you may be able to get an “Ex Parte” Order of Protection. This is an emergency order that lasts for about 15 days and is intended to protect the victim and keep their abuser away until a hearing can be held on the matter. Our domestic violence attorneys in Kansas City are here to help you during this scary time and can help you through the process.
What happens after an Ex Parte Order?
This is how an Ex Parte Order works in Missouri:
- Once the Ex Parte Order of Protection has been signed, a police officer will serve the order to your abuser.
- You can ask to be notified when the order has been served. The order will go into effect immediately.
- A hearing will then be scheduled for within 15 days of the initial filing date. At the Ex Parte hearing you will be required to appear and bring any witnesses or evidence needed to prove your need for a full Order of Protection.
Failure to attend the hearing means your petition will be dismissed.
Is there a statute of limitations on domestic violence claims in Missouri?
This is a complex topic, as certain forms of violence may have a statute of limitations, while other forms of intimate partner violence have no time limit on how long you can file a lawsuit. If you’re worried that it may be too late to pursue domestic violence charges, you can contact our domestic violence lawyers in Kansas City today!
Is a protection order the same as a restraining order?
No. The primary difference between a restraining order and an Order of Protection is that violation of a protective order can result in the perpetrator facing criminal charges.
Are protective orders valid in other states?
Yes! If you have obtained a full Order of Protection this order should be upheld in every state, not just the state you obtained the order in.
How long does an order of protection last in Missouri?
This will depend on the specific details of your order. Some protective orders automatically renew, while others will need to be renewed by submitting a renewal request. Some orders may have an expiration date, which will require you to apply for a protective order renewal.
Pingel Family Law is here to help you through this difficult time. You don’t have to navigate the legal process alone. If you need help filing for an Order of Protection, an Ex Parte Order, or in pursuing criminal charges against your abuser, call (816) 208-8130 today!
You can also contact us online. Let our Kansas City domestic violence attorneys fight for you.
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