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Know the Laws: Mississippi

UPDATED November 26, 2012

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A protective order is a civil order that provides protection from physical abuse, stalking, sexual abuse and threats of abuse by someone who meets a specific relationship requirement.

After the hearing

back to topWhat should I do when I leave the courthouse?

  • Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave.
  • Make several copies of the protective order as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
  • If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks and your phone number.
Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order. Women can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many batterers obey protective orders, but some do not. It is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe.

We have safety planning suggestions on our Staying Safe page. Advocates at local resource centers can assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support.  To find a shelter or an advocate at a local program, please visit the MS State and Local Programs page under the Where to Find Help tab at the top of this page.

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back to topThe judge denied me a protective order. What can I do?

If you are not granted a protective order, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They can help you come up with a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. To find a shelter or an advocate at a local program, please visit the MS State and Local Programs page under the Where to Find Help tab at the top of this page. You will also find information on safety planning on our Staying Safe page.

You may also be able to reapply for a protective order if a new incident of domestic abuse occurs after you are denied the order.

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back to topWhat can I do if the abuser violates the order?

You can call the police or sheriff immediately, even if you think it is a minor violation. If an abuser violates an order, s/he may be arrested and jailed for up to six months and/or fined up to $1,000.*  Another option is to file civil contempt of court charges against the abuser in the court that issued you the order.  However, a person cannot be held in contempt and convicted of a misdemeanor due to the same violation of the order.**  You may wish to speak with an attorney for advice if you want advice on filing for contempt or to find out what the possible penalties can be.

It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case.  Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made.  If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it may help you in future court cases. 

 

Note: If you let the abuser back into your residence, place of employment or anywhere the protective order prohibits him/her from going, it may be harder to have the order enforced in the future.

* MS Code § 93-21-21(1)
**
MS Code § 93-21-21(2)

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back to topHow do I change or extend the restraining order?

To change or extend your order you will have to file a petition, and the abuser will have an opportunity to present any arguments he may have in favor or against changes made to the protective order. Only a judge can change, extend, or cancel a protective order.

You will have to file the petition in the court that originally issued your protective order. A local domestic violence organization can help you with this. To find an local organization or advocate please visit our MS State and Local Programs page under the Where to Find Help tab on the top of this page.

Note: The court may be less willing to offer you its protection in the future if you have an order dismissed (cancelled).

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back to topWhat happens if I move?

Your Protective Order is automatically good in all Mississippi counties. If you move within the state, it is a good idea to let the law enforcement in your new area know about your order.

Additionally, the federal law provides what is called "Full Faith and Credit," which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands. Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders. You can find out about your state's policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of courts, or the prosecutor in your area.

If you change residence, you should bring a copy of your order to the police or sheriff department in your new area.

If you are moving out of state, you should call the battered women's program in the state where you are going to find out how that state treats out-of-state orders.  Please see our Moving to Another State with a Protective Order page.

If you are moving to a new state, you may also call the National Center on Full Faith and Credit (1-800-903-0111) for information on enforcing your order there.

Note: Injunctions may not be enforceable on military bases, and military protective orders may not be enforceable off base. Please check with your local police department, court clerk, and/or domestic violence advocate for more details. Please see our Military Info page for more information.

Because a temporary order is given based only on your information and the abuser did not have an opportunity to be heard, there may be limitations on the enforcement of a temporary order in another state.

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