Georgia state laws allow residents to obtain restraining orders, called protective orders, to shield a victim against violence and stalking. A court can grant emergency temporary orders when the victim is in immediate danger. Otherwise a formal hearing will be held, and the judge will decide whether it is appropriate to issue a longer lasting protective order.
Georgia issues protective orders to the victims of and those who are threatened with family violence. Violence includes rape, sexual battery, unwanted touching of any kind, criminal damage to property, false imprisonment, trespassing and threats of violence. To qualify as family violence, one or more of these acts must be committed by a current or former spouse, child, parent, any person with whom you've ever lived in the same household or the other parent of your child. Family violence does not include, however, reasonable discipline of children by their parents.
Stalking Protective Order
Stalking has three elements as defined in Georgia law. It entails following or placing under surveillance a particular person without his consent with the intent to harass or intimidate him. Unlike a family violence protective order, a stalking protective order is not limited to people in your family or household. A stalking protective order will prohibit stalking and, if the stalker is arrested, entitle the victim to notification when the stalker is released from jail.
Temporary and Permanent Orders
Upon filing a petition for a protective order, a court can grant a temporary ex-parte order without a hearing or notification to the person restrained. This will only occur, however, if the judge feels the victim is in immediate danger. A temporary order lasts up to 30 days but can be renewed with agreement by both parties. After a formal hearing in which the abuser has a chance to put on a defense, the judge may award a permanent restraining order, which is good for up to a year and may be renewed for up to three years.