Proposed Law Would Create a Defense to Violation of Protection Order

Proposed Law Would Create a Defense to Violation of Protection Order

Two bills have been proposed in the Tennessee legislature that would create a defense to a violation of a protection order (order of protection). House bill HB1139 and Senate bill SB1882 attempt to fill a gap in the current law by amending Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-3-610.

Under the current law a person who violates an order of protection can be held in contempt of court by having contact with the party that took out the order. Being held in contempt means that the person will face jail and a fine. This is so even if the party that took out the order invites the violator to visit with them.

If the bills pass, a defendant will be able to raise the defense of consent. The text of the house bill reads:

It shall be a defense to any charge of civil or criminal contempt that the
petitioner initiated or consented to the contact, with the defendant, that is the basis for
the charge of contempt.

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