Ex Parte Defense Lawyers

Document with the name restraining order. Ex Parte Order Kansas City judges gavel

Being served with an ex parte order can cause confusion and humiliation, especially when you are wrongly accused of criminal offences such as sexual assault, domestic violence, harassment, and stalking. 

When this happens, you will need the help of a seasoned and experienced ex parte defense attorney in Missouri to navigate the murky waters of ex parte orders. 

What is An Ex Parte Order? 

In civil law practice, the term ex parte refers to applications for orders that a court can grant without waiting for a response from the other party (the respondent). Generally, these are temporary orders only valid until a full hearing on the matter is held. A good example is a temporary restraining order. 

In Missouri, these orders are normally granted in emergency cases of child custody, sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, or harassment concerns. The parting seeking a custody order or restraining order files for temporary orders and must explain to the court why the orders should be granted immediately without the other party being notified or requested to give a response. 

The court hears the application immediately after its filing and, if satisfied that the reasons or grounds for filing for the orders are reasonable and justifiable, grants the order. An ex parte order is enforceable immediately after it is granted. However, these orders are temporary and typically expire 15 days after a hearing on a full order of protection. 

Types of Ex Parte Orders 

Missouri courts issue several types of ex parte orders, with different restrictions and protections depending on the situation. At KC Defense Counsel, we can defend you against the following:

Restraining Orders 

An ex parte restraining order allows the applicant to seek several reliefs. These reliefs include but are not limited to:

  • Restrain the respondent from entering the applicant’s dwelling, even where the property is jointly owned, occupied or leased by both parties.
  • Restrain the respondent from threatening to commit or committing sexual assault, domestic violence, or disturbing the peace of the applicant. 
  • Restraining the respondent from communicating with the petitioner in any manner. 

 

Temporary Injunctions 

An injunction is typically a court order forcing a person to stop doing something (e.g. harassment) or to do something (e.g. leave a shared home). Such an order can be either temporary, preliminary, or permanent. 

A temporary injunction serves to preserve the legal status quo of both parties until a full hearing is conducted. A temporary restraining order (TRO) is a form of temporary injunction that can be issued without notice to the other party. That notwithstanding, a TRO cannot be in effect for more than 30 days without a hearing on the subject matter. 

Temporary Custody Orders 

A temporary custody order is issued for minor children where both parties share guardianship, including adopted, biological, and step children. The court can also consider temporary custody of pets. 

Emergency Orders of Protection 

An emergency order of protection is mostly used in cases of domestic violence and/or stalking. For instance, where a petitioner is trying to leave an abusive relationship or believes they are in imminent harm, an emergency ex parte order can be sought and granted to prevent further harm to the petitioner. 

The Consequences of Ex Parte Orders 

These orders seek to restrict the respondent’s freedom, access to their children, assets, among other restrictions. Although they are temporary in nature, ex parte orders can have far-reaching consequences. For instance, an ex parte order in a divorce matter can result in restricted access to your bank account, property that you rightfully own, or even prevent you from seeing your children. 

As such, it is clear that ex parte orders only benefit the party that failed the motion. The respondent gets no opportunity to contest the application and must live with the judge’s ruling until a full hearing is held. 

It is also worth noting that although ex parte orders are mostly civil in nature, violating them can attract criminal charges and penalties. In Missouri, a first-time violation is considered a misdemeanor, attracting a penalty of one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000. A second violation is considered a felony, attracting a penalty of up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. 

Additionally, when a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a person subject to an ex parte order is in violation, they must effect mandatory arrest. 

The Role of Ex Parte Lawyers

After being served with an ex parte order, the first cause of action should be to seek the help and services of an experienced Missouri ex parte attorney. Your lawyer has to work fast to minimize the consequences of the order. 

The relief granted in an ex parte order will only be in effect until a full hearing is held with both parties present. As such, your lawyer’s first step is petitioning the court for a hearing. During hearing, your attorney will: 

 

  • Protecting Your Reputation 

Being served an ex parte order can be quite a humiliating experience. Since the purpose of such an order is to offer legal protection to the petitioner, a copy of the order will be delivered by a process server or law enforcement officer. Service can be done at home or work, potentially harming your reputation. 

Your Missouri ex parte defense lawyer helps protect your reputation, especially when the order is unwarranted. If the petitioner’s case is unfounded, your lawyer will represent you in the case, showing that you did not assault, harass, stalk or abuse the petitioner as alleged. 

  • Contesting Dodgy Evidence 

This is arguably the most important role of an ex parte order attorney. The lawyer will ensure that the evidence presented by the petitioner in the full hearing adheres to Missouri rules of evidence by contesting any dubious evidence. 

Defense Against Ex Parte Orders 

The defense strategy that your lawyer will use in the hearing will depend on the grounds upon which the order was petitioned. For example, if you are being accused of harassment, then your lawyer will raise the defense against harassment. Other common defenses include:

  • Questioning the character of the petitioner. Are they using the ex parte order to “get back” at you?
  • Challenging the veracity of the petitioner’s evidence.
  • Giving reasons why you should have access to your children, domicile, or assets that the ex parte order restricted. 

Upon hearing both parties’ submissions, the judge can either decide to quash the order or make it permanent. 

Why Choose KC Defense Counsel? 

KC Defense Counsel is a team of five seasoned criminal defense attorneys with many years of experience. With unique backgrounds and a collaborative approach to each matter, We are capable of handling your case and building a strong defense. 

Lawyers at KC Defense Counsel have represented many clients and understand the legal system. If you have been served with an ex parte order and need a lawyer, we can help guide you through the hearing process. Call 816-287-3787 or fill out this contact form to book your free consultation today.