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Order of Protection

WARNING

-  A protective order is a tool to
   assist you.
 

-  If you are being confronted by the
  defendant, you need to call "911"!
  

-  You need to continue to take
   precautions to keep yourself safe.

I. What is an Order of Protection?

It is a protective order that has been issued by the court for a person who has a domestic relationship with the defendant as defined by statute A.R.S. 13-3601(A). Whether an Order of Protection is appropriate is based on a two-fold test. The first is your relationship with the defendant and the second is whether or not a crime defined as domestic violence has been or may be committed.

Relationship includes:

  • Your current or former spouse,
  • Persons residing or having resided in the same household,
  • One party pregnant by the other party or someone with whom you have a child in common,
  • Your relative or your current or ex-spouse's relative by blood (parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, or sibling) or by marriage (parent-in-law, grandparent-in -law, step-parent, step-child, step-grandchild, sibling-in-law.)
  • Victim is related to the defendant or the defendant's spouse by court order (adopted child).
  • A child who has a relationship to the defendant (resides or has resided in the same home and is related by blood to the former spouse or partner of the defendant or to a person who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant.)

Domestic Violence Crimes include:

  • Assault
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Child or Vulnerable Adult Abuse
  • Criminal Damage
  • Criminal Trespass-first, second or third degree
  • Crimes Against Children
  • Custodial Interference
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Endangerment
  • Kidnapping
  • Threatening or Intimidating
  • Unlawful Imprisonment
  • Stalking
  • Interfering with a judicial proceedings
  • Harassment or telephone harassment
  • Surreptitiously photographing, videotaping, filming, or digitally recording a person

II. What Effect Does An Order Of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment Have?
 

The Judge has the authority to:

  • Order the defendant to not commit acts of domestic violence and/or harassment,
  • Grant one party exclusive possession of residence (Order of Protections only),
  • Order the defendant not to go near the residence, place of employment, school, or other locations specified by the plaintiff,
  • Prohibit the defendant from possessing or purchasing a firearm (Order of Protections only),
  • Require the defendant to participate in domestic violence counseling (Orders of Protection only - after a hearing),
  • Order other relief as necessary to protect the alleged victim or other protected parties. Adults living at separate addresses will not normally be included, they would need to be present and request their own order.
  • Judges in Municipal or Justice Courts do not have the authority to render custody orders, resolve property disputes, or fashion an Order of Protection affecting any visitation rights. If there is an active Family Court case the lower courts do not have jurisdiction to accept the filing. These types of relief are appropriate for review by the Superior Court.

III. What is an Injunction Against Harassment?

It is a protective order that has been issued by the court pursuant to A.R.S. 12-1809. An Injunction Against Harassment is not limited to domestic violence crimes. A petition for Injunction Against Harassment may be set for hearing prior to the issuance of the order. If you are asking the Court to issue the Injunction Against Harassment without giving the defendant a chance to be heard first at a hearing, you must show that great or irreparable harm will result if it is not immediately issued.

Harassment is a series of acts that:

  • Can be spread over a long or short period of time,
  • Must be directed at a specific person,
  • Must seriously alarm, annoy or harass the victim without serving a legitimate purpose,
  • Must be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress,
  • Must actually cause the victim to suffer substantial emotional stress.

You must be specific about how the defendant has harassed you. Just because the defendant annoyed or alarmed you does not mean you have been harassed in the legal sense. According to the law, harassment must involve a series of acts. A single incident, no matter how much it may bother you, does not constitute legal action harassment. People cannot be prevented from taking legal action against you and Injunctions cannot resolve landlord-tenant disputes.

IV. How Do I Request an Order or an Injunction?

You must fill out the petition requesting an Order or an Injunction, which will be provided to you by a member of 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 name of the defendant.
  • The defendant's date of birth (if known).
  • The defendant's address (if known).
  • The defendant's physical description.
  • A specific statement, including dates, of the domestic violence or acts of harassment that the defendant has committed within the past year (one year requirement may be waived if the defendant is out of state, incarcerated or good cause shown).

You must tell the Court if there are any prior or pending court proceedings or orders that were sought or issued between yourself and the defendant. It does not matter if the court proceedings are on going or if they happened in the past.

After you complete the paperwork, you will be scheduled to see a Judge who will review your petition. After the Judge meets with you, he/she will decide whether to issue the protective order.

V. 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 in effect. The protective order will be valid for one year from the date of service.
  • You may use a private process server to serve the Order or Injunction.
  • The Scottsdale Police Department may assist you with service if the defendant resides, works, or is in custody within the City of Scottsdale. You may also seek the assistance of other municipal law enforcement agencies or County Sheriff's Offices when the defendant is located within their jurisdiction. You are responsible for delivering the defendant's copy of the protective order to the agency of choice and for paying any fees and/or mileage associated with the service of the order.
  • If you do not presently know where the defendant can be served, or do not have an accurate address, you should keep the certified copy of the order. As soon as you have an accurate address, contact a private process server or law enforcement agency to serve the protective order for you. The order must be served within one year of the date of issuance.
  • If the plaintiff or defendant's residence changes during the life of the case, it is each party's responsibility to notify the Court when his/her address changes.
  • In an emergency situation, call "911". If the defendant has not been served, any law enforcement officer can serve your order. You may be billed for service.
  • Once the protective order has been served upon the defendant, you need to make sure you have a valid copy of it in your possession at all times.
  • Once the protective order has been served, the defendant may request a hearing one time during the one year that it is in effect. A hearing will be held within ten days from the date of the hearing request, 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 be held within five days of the request for a hearing.
  • If during the period of time that your order is in effect your circumstances change, you must return to the Court to modify or quash/stop the protective order.
  • If a petition for annulment, dissolution or separation of marriage, an action for maternity or paternity is filed, you must notify the Court in writing immediately and the case will be transferred to Superior Court for all further proceedings, unless a hearing has already been scheduled in this court.
  • Violation of the court order is a criminal offense. If you believe the defendant has violated the protective order, you should notify the police in the location where the violation occurred. For all emergencies you should call "911". In Scottsdale, if you want to file a police report, call the Scottsdale Police at 480-312-5000. Do not call the Court to report violations. The decision to file criminal charges is made by the Scottsdale Prosecutor's Office.

VI. How Do I Obtain A Protective Order After Hours?

If you are in imminent and present danger of domestic violence and need an immediate protective order and the Court is closed, you can obtain an Emergency Order of Protection. After Court hours of operation, on holidays, or on the weekend an Emergency Order of Protection can be requested by contacting your local law enforcement agency. Unless continued by the Court, an Emergency Order of Protection is valid only until the close of the next judicial day following the day that the Order was issued.

  

If you have questions or need assistance with filing for a protective order call:

Victim Services Division: 480-312-4226
Police Crisis Intervention: 480-312-5055
 

Other Services

Self Service Center (24hr info): (602) 506-7353
Community Info & Referral: (602) 263-8856
Community Legal Services: (602) 258-3434
Legal Advocacy Hotline: (602) 279-2900