Full Statute Name:  Maine Revised Statutes Annotated. Title 19-A. Domestic Relations. Part 4. Protection from Abuse. Chapter 101. Protection from Abuse. §§ 4006, 4007

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Primary Citation:  ME ST T. 19-A §§ 4006, 4007 Last Checked:  August, 2014 Alternate Citation:  19-A M.R.S.A. §§ 4006, 4007 Date Adopted:  1995
Summary:

This Maine law concerning personal protection orders in cases of abuse was amended in March of 2006 to include companion animals in protection orders.  The new language specifies that a court may enter an order directing the care, custody or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household. In 2013, the statute was amended to allow the court to enter an order directing the defendant to refrain from injuring or threatening to injure any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household.

Statute Text: 

§ 4006. Hearings

1. Full hearing. Within 21 days of the filing of a complaint, a hearing must be held at which the plaintiff must prove the allegation of abuse by a preponderance of the evidence. If a request for temporary, emergency or interim relief is denied, the hearing must be held as soon as practicable within the 21-day period.

2. Temporary orders. The court may enter temporary orders authorized under subsection 5 that it considers necessary to protect the plaintiff or minor child from abuse, on good cause shown in an ex parte proceeding, which the court shall hear and determine as expeditiously as practicable after the filing of a complaint. Immediate and present danger of abuse to the plaintiff or minor child constitutes good cause. An order remains in effect pending a hearing pursuant to subsection 1.

2-A. Temporary orders; possession of dangerous weapons. The court may direct the defendant not to possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon for the duration of the temporary order if the complaint demonstrates:

A. Abuse that involves a firearm or other dangerous weapon; or

B. A heightened risk of immediate abuse to the plaintiff or a minor child. In determining whether a heightened risk of immediate abuse is present, the court shall consider, but is not limited to consideration of, whether:

(1) The temporary order of protection is not likely to achieve its purpose in the absence of such a condition;

(2) The defendant has violated orders of protection;

(3) Past or present abuse to a victim resulted in injury;

(4) The abuse occurred in public; and

(5) The abuse includes:

(a) Threats of suicide or homicide;

(b) Killing or threatening to kill pets;

(c) An escalation of violence;

(d) Stalking behavior or extreme obsession;

(e) Sexual violence;

(f) Excessive alcohol or drug use; and

(g) Abuse against a pregnant victim.

If the court prohibits the defendant from possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a temporary order and if the defendant moves for dissolution or modification of an order pursuant to subsection 7, the court must hear and decide the motion as expeditiously as possible and must issue a written decision on the motion within 24 hours after a hearing on that motion.

If the court prohibits the defendant from possessing a dangerous weapon other than a firearm in a temporary order, the court shall specify the type of weapon the defendant is prohibited from possessing.

If the court prohibits the defendant from possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a temporary order, the court shall direct the defendant to relinquish, within 24 hours after service of the order on the defendant or such earlier time as the court specifies in the order, all firearms and specified dangerous weapons in the possession of the defendant to a law enforcement officer or other individual for the duration of the order. If the weapons are relinquished to an individual other than a law enforcement officer, the defendant must file, within 24 hours after such relinquishment, with the court or local law enforcement agency designated in the order a written statement that contains the name and address of the individual holding the weapons and a description of all weapons held by that individual. The court may subsequently issue a search warrant authorizing a law enforcement officer to seize any firearms and other dangerous weapons at any location if there is probable cause to believe such firearms or dangerous weapons have not been relinquished by the defendant.

3. Emergency relief. Emergency relief is available as follows.

A. When there is no judge available in the District Court having venue or the District Court courthouse is closed and no other provision can be made for the shelter of an abused family or household member or minor child, a complaint may be presented to another District Court Judge or Superior Court Justice. Upon a showing of good cause, as defined in subsection 2, the court may enter temporary orders authorized under subsection 5 that it considers necessary to protect the plaintiff or minor child from abuse.

B. If a complaint is presented under this subsection, that complaint and any order issued pursuant to it must be forwarded immediately to the clerk of the District Court having venue for filing.

C. An order remains in effect pending a hearing pursuant to subsection 1.

4. Denial of relief. Before a request for temporary, emergency or interim relief is denied, the judge shall:

A. Allow the plaintiff the opportunity to be heard in person to support the complaint. The plaintiff may be accompanied by a person of the plaintiff's choice; and

B. Advise the plaintiff of reasons for the denial.

5. Interim relief. The court, in an ex parte proceeding, may make an order concerning the parental rights and responsibilities relating to minor children residing in the household and may enjoin the defendant from engaging in the following:

A. Imposing a restraint upon the person or liberty of the plaintiff;

B. Threatening, assaulting, molesting, harassing, attacking or otherwise disturbing the peace of the plaintiff;

C. Entering the family residence or the residence of the plaintiff;

D. Repeatedly and without reasonable cause:

(1) Following the plaintiff; or

(2) Being at or in the vicinity of the plaintiff's home, school, business or place of employment;

E. Taking, converting or damaging property in which the plaintiff may have a legal interest; or

F. Having any direct or indirect contact with the plaintiff.
If the court enjoins the defendant under this subsection and the enjoined conduct constitutes harassment under Title 17-A, section 506-A, the court shall include in the order a warning in conformity with Title 17-A, section 506-A.

5-A. Interim relief; care, custody or control of animals. The court may make an order concerning the care, custody or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household and may enjoin the defendant from injuring or threatening to injure any such animal.

6. Service of order. If the court issues a temporary order or orders emergency or interim relief, the court shall order an appropriate law enforcement agency or, if the defendant is present in the courthouse, a court security officer qualified pursuant to Title 4, section 17, subsection 15 or, if the defendant is in the custody of the Department of Corrections, the Department of Corrections to serve the defendant personally with the order, the complaint and the summons. The court shall cause the order to be delivered to the law enforcement agency, court security officer or the correctional facility in which the defendant is incarcerated as soon as practicable following the issuance of the order and the law enforcement agency, court security officer or chief administrative officer of a correctional facility or the chief administrative officer's designee shall make a good faith effort to serve process expeditiously.

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, service of an order may be made pursuant to this section through the use of electronically transmitted printed copies of orders that have been transmitted directly from the court to the law enforcement agency or correctional facility making service. Return of proof of service may be made by electronic transmission of the proof of service directly to the court from the law enforcement officer making service or the chief administrative officer, or the chief administrative officer's designee, of the correctional facility making service.

B. In any subsequent criminal prosecution for violation of this section when the service of an order was made through the use of an electronically transmitted printed copy of the order, with 10 days' advance written notice to the prosecution, the defendant may request that the prosecution call as a witness the law enforcement officer who served the order or the chief administrative officer, or the chief administrative officer's designee, of the correctional facility that served the order.

7. Dissolution or modification. Notwithstanding any statutory provision to the contrary, upon 2 days' notice to the plaintiff or upon such shorter notice as the court may order, a person who is subject to an order may appear and move the dissolution or modification of the order and, in that event, the court shall proceed to hear and determine the motion as expeditiously as the ends of justice require. At that hearing, the plaintiff has the burden of justifying a finding in the ex parte order that the defendant has challenged by affidavit. This section may not be construed to abolish or limit any means, otherwise available by law, for obtaining dissolution, modification or discharge of an order.

8. Extension. If a hearing under subsection 1 is continued, the court may make or extend temporary orders it considers necessary. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if a protective order is issued pursuant to section 4007, the temporary protective order issued pursuant to this section remains in effect pending service of the final order.

Credits
1995, c. 694, § B-2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997; 1999, c. 67, § 1, eff. April 14, 1999; 2001, c. 134, § 5; 2001, c. 273, § 3; 2003, c. 372, § 2; 2009, c. 94, § 5; 2009, c. 555, §§ 4, 5; 2013, c. 109, § 1, eff. Oct. 9, 2013.

 

 § 4007. Relief

1. Protection order; consent agreement. The court, after a hearing and upon finding that the defendant has committed the alleged abuse or engaged in the alleged conduct described in section 4005, subsection 1, may grant a protective order or, upon making that finding, approve a consent agreement to bring about a cessation of abuse or the alleged conduct. This subsection does not preclude the parties from voluntarily requesting a consent agreement without a finding of abuse. The court may enter a finding that the defendant represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the plaintiff or a minor child residing in the plaintiff's household. Relief granted under this section may include:


A. Directing the defendant to refrain from threatening, assaulting, molesting, harassing, attacking or otherwise abusing the plaintiff and any minor children residing in the household;


A-1. Directing the defendant not to possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon for the duration of the order;


A-2. Prohibiting the defendant from the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury against the plaintiff or a minor child residing in the household;


B. Directing the defendant to refrain from going upon the premises of the plaintiff's residence;


C. Directing the defendant to refrain from repeatedly and without reasonable cause:


(1) Following the plaintiff;


(2) Being at or in the vicinity of the plaintiff's home, school, business or place of employment; or


(3) Engaging in conduct defined as stalking in Title 17-A, section 210-A;


D. Directing the defendant to refrain from having any direct or indirect contact with the plaintiff;


E. When the mutual residence or household of the parties is jointly owned or jointly leased or when one party has a duty to support the other or their minor children living in the residence or household and that party is the sole owner or lessee:


(1) Granting or restoring possession of the residence or household to one party, excluding the other; or


(2) A consent agreement, allowing the party with the duty to support to provide suitable alternate housing;

 

E-1. Directing the defendant to refrain from injuring or threatening to injure any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household;

F. Ordering a division of the personal property and household goods and furnishings of the parties and placing any protective orders considered appropriate by the court, including an order to refrain from taking, converting or damaging property in which the plaintiff has a legal interest;


F-1. Ordering the termination of a life insurance policy or rider under that policy owned by the defendant if the plaintiff is the insured life under the policy or rider. Upon issuance, a copy of the court order must be sent to the insurer that issued the policy;


G. Either awarding some or all temporary parental rights and responsibilities with regard to minor children or awarding temporary rights of contact with regard to minor children, or both, under such conditions that the court finds appropriate as determined in accordance with the best interest of the child pursuant to section 1653, subsections 3 to 6-B. The court's award of parental rights and responsibilities or rights of contact is not binding in any separate action involving an award of parental rights and responsibilities pursuant to chapter 55 [FN1] or in a similar action brought in another jurisdiction exercising child custody jurisdiction in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act; [FN2]


H. Requiring the defendant to receive counseling from a social worker, family service agency, mental health center, psychiatrist or any other guidance service that the court considers appropriate. The court may not order and the State may not pay for the defendant to attend a batterers' intervention program unless the program is certified under section 4014;


I. Ordering the payment of temporary support for the dependent party or for a child in the dependent party's custody in accordance with chapter 63, [FN3] or both, when there is a legal obligation to support that dependent party or that child, or both;


J. Ordering the payment of temporary support payments to the State as provided in chapters 63 and 67; [FN4]


K. Ordering payment of monetary compensation to the abused person for losses suffered as a direct result of the abuse. Compensatory losses are limited to loss of earnings or support, reasonable expenses incurred for personal injuries or property damage and reasonable moving expenses. Upon the motion of either party, for sufficient cause, the court may set a later hearing on the issue of the amount of damages, if any, to be awarded;


L. Ordering the defendant to pay court costs or reasonable attorney's fees;


L-1. Ordering the plaintiff to pay court costs or reasonable attorney's fees, or both, only if a judgment is entered against the plaintiff after a hearing in which both the plaintiff and the defendant are present and the court finds that the complaint is frivolous;


M. Entering any other orders determined necessary or appropriate in the discretion of the court; or


N. Directing the care, custody or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household.


If the court enjoins the defendant under this subsection and the enjoined conduct constitutes harassment under Title 17-A, section 506-A, the court shall include in the order a warning in conformity with Title 17-A, section 506-A.


1-A. No possession of firearm or dangerous weapons for duration of order. If the court prohibits the defendant from possessing a dangerous weapon other than a firearm, the court shall specify the type of weapon the defendant is prohibited from possessing.


If the court prohibits the defendant from possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon, the court shall direct the defendant to relinquish, within 24 hours after service of the order on the defendant or such earlier time as the court specifies in the order, all firearms and specified dangerous weapons in the possession of the defendant to a law enforcement officer or other individual for the duration of the order. If the weapons are relinquished to an individual other than a law enforcement officer, the defendant must file, within 24 hours after such relinquishment, with the court or local law enforcement agency designated in the order a written statement that contains the name and address of the individual holding the weapons and a description of all weapons held by that individual. The court may subsequently issue a search warrant authorizing a law enforcement officer to seize any firearms and other dangerous weapons at any location if there is probable cause to believe such firearms or dangerous weapons have not been relinquished by the defendant.


2. Duration. A protective order or approved consent agreement is for a fixed period not to exceed 2 years. At the expiration of that time, the court may extend an order, upon motion of the plaintiff, for such additional time as it determines necessary to protect the plaintiff or minor child from abuse. The court may continue the order in effect until the hearing under section 4006, subsection 1 on the motion to extend. Upon motion by either party, for sufficient cause, the court may modify the order or agreement from time to time as circumstances require.


3. Consequences of violation. A protective order or approved consent agreement must indicate, in a clear and conspicuous manner, the potential consequences of violation of the order or agreement, as provided in section 4011 and Title 15, section 393, subsection 1, paragraph D, if applicable.


4. Title to property. An order or agreement may not affect title to any real property.


5. Bond prohibited. The court may not require the execution of a bond by the plaintiff prior to issuance of an order of protection.


6. Service of order or consent decree. The court shall order a law enforcement agency; or, if the defendant is present in the courthouse, a court security officer qualified pursuant to Title 4, section 17, subsection 15; or, if the defendant is in the custody of the Department of Corrections, the chief administrative officer or the chief administrative officer's designee at the correctional facility, to serve the defendant personally with a protective order or consent decree.


A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, service of an order may be made pursuant to this section through the use of electronically transmitted printed copies of orders that have been transmitted directly from the court to the law enforcement agency or correctional facility making service. Return of proof of service may be made by electronic transmission of the proof of service directly to the court from the law enforcement officer making service or the chief administrative officer, or the chief administrative officer's designee, of the correctional facility making service.


B. In any subsequent criminal prosecution for violation of this section when the service of an order was made through the use of an electronically transmitted printed copy of the order, with 10 days' advance written notice to the prosecution, the defendant may request that the prosecution call as a witness the law enforcement officer who served the order or the chief administrative officer, or the chief administrative officer's designee, of the correctional facility that served the order.


7. Mutual order of protection or restraint. The court may not issue a mutual order of protection or restraint.


8. Action by plaintiff. A plaintiff may extinguish or modify an order only by legal process in accordance with the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure. Any other action or inaction on the part of the plaintiff does not alter, diminish or negate the effectiveness of the order. Criminal sanctions may not be imposed upon the plaintiff for violation of a provision of the plaintiff's order for protection.


9. Financial accounting. In all proceedings under this chapter, the court shall apply the child support guidelines in chapter 63 using the information the plaintiff is able to provide the court. Failure of a party to file an income affidavit may not unnecessarily delay a proceeding and does not preclude the issuance of an order, except that the court shall require the plaintiff to complete and file an income affidavit at a final hearing involving child support even if the defendant does not appear for the hearing.


CREDIT(S)

1995, c. 694, § B-2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997; 1997, c. 187, § 4, eff. Oct. 1, 1997; 1997, c. 334, §§ 4 to 6; 1999, c. 67, § 2, eff. April 14, 1999; 1999, c. 486, § 5, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; 2001, c. 134, § 6; 2001, c. 273, § 4; 2003, c. 106, § 1; 2003, c. 372, § 3; 2005, c. 366, § 5; 2005, c. 510, §§ 10 to 12; 2007, c. 340, § 5; 2009, c. 94, § 6; 2009, c. 555, §§ 6, 7; 2011, c. 303, §§ 1, 2, eff. June 10, 2011; 2013, c. 109, § 2, eff. Oct. 9, 2013.


[FN1] 19-A M.R.S.A. § 1651 et seq.
[FN2] 19-A M.R.S.A. § 1731 et seq.
[FN3] 19-A M.R.S.A. § 2001 et seq.
[FN4] 19-A M.R.S.A. § 2801 et seq.

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