What is an Order of Protection?
The following criteria must be met to file and order of protection. The first is your relationship with the defendant. The second is that a domestic violence crime has been committed within the past year. If both do not apply, then you would file an Injunction Against Harassment.
An Order of Protection is requested when seeking protection against:
- Your current or former spouse
- Someone with whom you live or have lived
- One party pregnant by the other party or someone with whom you have a child in common
- Your relative, or your current spouse's relative
- A person with whom you have a romantic or sexual relationship now or in the past
Domestic Violence includes:
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Harassment
- Aggravated Domestic Violence
- Child or Vulnerable adult abuse
- Criminal Damage
- Criminal Trespass - first, second or third degree
- Crimes Against Children
- Custodial Interference
- Disobeying a court order
- Disorderly Conduct
- Surreptitious Videotaping
- Threatening and Intimidating
- Unlawful Imprisonment
- Unlawful Use of Telephone
You must tell the Court if there are any other Court proceedings regarding the defendant's conduct toward you or any other Court orders in effect. It does not matter if the Court proceedings are going on now, or if they happened in the past. Tell this Court about all of them.
What is an Injunction Against Harassment?
If you are asking the Court to issue an Injunction Against Harassment the defendant has to have committed a series of acts (more than one) of harassment against you in the last year.
A Workplace Injunction Against Harassment may be filed by an employer or owner of a business or operation for the benefit of an employee or the business against a single act or series of acts of harassment.
You must tell the Court if there are any other Court proceedings regarding the defendant's conduct toward you or any other injunctions in effect. It does not matter if the Court proceedings are going on now, or if they happened in the past. Tell this Court about all of them.
What can Protective Order do?
The Judge has the authority to:
- Order the defendant not to contact the plaintiff
- Order the defendant to not commit acts of domestic violence
- Grant the plaintiff exclusive possession of residence (only on an Order of Protection).
- Order the defendant to not go near the residence, place of employment, school, or other specified locations of the other party.
- Order other relief as necessary to protect the alleged victim or other persons. A Judge may or may not permit other adults to be included. Other adults may file separate petitions.
The Judge does not have the authority to render custody orders, order parties to obtain counseling, resolve property disputes, or fashion an Order of Protection affecting any visitation rights. These types of relief are appropriate for consideration by the Superior Court.
More about Protective Orders and Injunctions Against Harassment
Once an Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment has been served, it will be in effect for one (1) year.
The defendant may request a hearing on the order one time during the one (1) year period in which it is in effect. A hearing will be held within 10 days from the date requested unless the Court finds compelling reasons to continue the hearing. If you (the plaintiff) have been granted exclusive use of the residence, the hearing will then be held within 5 days.
If during the period of time your order is in effect your circumstances change, you must appear in person to request a possible modification to the Order of Protection or Injunctions Against Harassment. Modified orders must be re-served.
If any family law case involving you and the defendant or a common child(ren) is filed, you must notify the Court immediately and the proceedings will be transferred to Superior Court.
Violation of the Court Order is a crime to be reported to police, not to the Court.
If the defendant violates the Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment, you should call
9-1-1. for all emergencies or if you only want to file a police report, call the Police Department in the city where the violation occurred. You may contact the Tempe Police Department at 480-350-8311.
A decision to file criminal charges is made by the appropriate Prosecutor's Office, not by the Court.
How Do I File?
You must fill out the paperwork available online or given to you by the Court staff. A Protective Order can only be issued against one person. Each person you want to file against requires a separate petition You must provide the Court with:
- The defendant's name.
- A list of all specific facts of domestic violence or harassment that the defendant has committed within the past year (the 1 year requirement may be waived if defendant is out of state, incarcerated, or good cause is shown).
- Your address and phone number so the Court can contact you if the defendant requests a hearing. Upon your request, this information will be withheld from the defendant.
- An address at which the defendant can be legally served with the Court's order.
Remember, you can request an Order or Injunction without the defendant's address - but the order is not in effect until the defendant is served.
After you complete the paperwork, you will be seen by a Judge who will review your petition. This appearance is usually on the same day. The Judge will decide whether to issue the Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment. In some cases, the Judge will set the matter to a hearing before issuing an order.
How Is The Defendant Served?
If the Judge issues the Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment, you must have the defendant served with the order before it will be effective. Once an order has been served, it will be in effect for one (1) year.
You may use a private process server or you may use the Police Department in whatever city the defendant is to be found in to serve Orders of Protection only. Police Departments do not serve Injunctions Against Harassment.
If you use a private process server, you are responsible for delivering the defendant's copy of the petition and order to the process server and for paying the service fee and mileage.
If you do not presently know where the defendant is, or do not have an accurate address, you should keep the certified copy of the order and petition. As soon as you learn where the defendant is, you can contact a private process server or the police, so that they can attempt to serve the defendant. The order must be served within one (1) year of being issued.
If the defendant is in jail, the Police or Sheriff will serve the Order of Protection or the Injunction Against Harassment. If the Defendant is in the process of being released, there may not be enough time to have service completed.
In an emergency situation, call 9-1-1. Any Police Officer can serve your order.
For information regarding statewide resources for victims of domestic violence, please go to the Arizona Department of Public Safety's Arizona Crime Victim's website.