Domestic Violence Laws in Kentucky

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, and roughly two-thirds of all marriages experience domestic violence at least once.  Domestic violence is any behavior that is used to gain or maintain power and control over a family member by another family member.  A family member is defined as a spouse, parent, grandparent, child, stepchild, or member of an unmarried couple.  An unmarried couple consists of a boyfriend and girlfriend that either live together as a couple or have a child together.  Domestic abuse can consist of emotional, physical or sexual abuse.  

  • Some examples of emotional abuse include the following:
    • Calling you names, insulting you or criticizing you
    • Not trusting you and/or acting jealous or possessive
    • Monitoring where you go and who you spend time with
    • Threatening to hurt you, your children, your family or your pets
  • Some examples of physical abuse include the following:
    • Damaging property when angry – punching walls, kicking doors, etc.
    • Abandoning you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place
    • Using a weapon to threaten or hurt you
    • Pushing, slapping, biting, kicking, or choking you or your family
  • Some examples of sexual abuse include the following:
    • Insulting you in sexual ways or calling you sexual names
    • Forcing or manipulating you into having sex or performing sexual acts
    • Demanding sex when you were sick, tired, or after beating you

Protective orders can be filed against an abusive partner or family member, offering legal protection against domestic violence for both male and female victims.  There are two types of protective orders: Emergency Protective Orders (EPO) and Domestic Violence Orders (DVO).   An emergency protective order is granted on a temporary basis until a full trial can be completed.  A court trial is not required to grant an EPO.  EPOs can prohibit the alleged abuser from contacting or communicating with the victim, prevent the alleged abuser from committing further acts of domestic violence, or grant temporary child custody.  Additionally, EPOs can require the alleged abuser to stay a specified distance away from the abuser and to vacate the home if shared by both parties.  Similar to an EPO, a DVO is a permanent protective order granted by a judge at a full court hearing, in which both parties have notice of the hearing and are given the right to appear and present testimony and evidence.  DVOs typically last a specified amount of time, but cannot exceed three years.  They can be extended for longer than three years if a proper motion is filed before the Court.

According to the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence, violating a protective order is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine and 12 months in jail.   Also, committing a third subsequent domestic violence assault within a five-year period is a Class D felony, which can carry up to 5 years in prison.

The attorneys at Durrett & Kersting have extensive experience representing both the Petitioner and the Respondent in EPO and DVO hearings. If you have taken out an EPO or been served with an EPO contact the office of Durrett & Kersting to discuss your case.

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