The Basics of Orders of Protection (Restraining Orders)

A protection order is a legal document ordering someone to stop all contact with you. It could order an abusive spouse out of your home or stop a stalker from communicating with you. Emergency protection orders can take effect immediately, while other types may take a few days to process. In the time of COVID-19, many people are looking for protection orders for domestic violence situations while stuck at home. Learn more about orders of protection in Arizona.

What are the Different Types of Restraining Orders?

First, determine what type of protection order is most appropriate for your needs and situation. Different types of protection orders are suitable for different needs. If you are in imminent danger of bodily harm, call 911 to report domestic violence or another crime. Otherwise, follow the steps toward obtaining the right type of protection order.

  • Order of protection. This is an order specifically against domestic violence or harassment. It prohibits acts of domestic violence against you by the defendant. It also protects you by removing firearms from the home.
  • Emergency order of protection. This is also an order to prevent domestic violence, but it is more appropriate if you are in imminent and present danger. Emergency protection orders are only valid until the end of the next judicial business day unless extended by the court.
  • Release order. A release order is available in rural counties in Arizona when the courts are closed. It protects a victim using pretrial release conditions that come into effect when a jail releases the defendant from custody.
  • Injunction against harassment. This orders a defendant to stop harassing, intimidating or annoying you. It can work against someone you know, such as a coworker or neighbor, as well as a stranger.

If you are unsure which type is best for your needs, consult with an attorney for legal advice. A lawyer could help you with issues related to domestic violence, including securing protection orders and/or bringing a claim against a perpetrator. Once you know the right type of protection order to pursue, you can file your petition with the courts in your county. You may need to file electronically if your county’s courts are closed due to COVID-19.

Who Can You File a Protection Order Against?

In Arizona, you may file a protection order against a spouse, ex-spouse, roommate, former roommate, the parent of your child or unborn child, someone you are involved with sexually or romantically, a sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or your spouse’s immediate family members. In general, you must have evidence that the defendant committed or will likely commit a dangerous crime against a child under the age of 15 and/or the defendant committed an act that harassed, harmed, annoyed, intimidated, threatened or endangered you.

In general, the courts in Arizona will grant a petition for a protection order if you have suitable grounds for requesting the order or injunction. You may need a lawyer to help prove your grounds for the protective order, however. You will also need the defendant’s full name, address and birthdate if known. You or your lawyer will need to present facts as to why you need the protection order, such as a reasonable belief that the defendant will harm you without one. You do not have to pay any filing fees to request an order of protection in Arizona.

How Can a Restraining Order Protect You?

A protection or restraining order could protect you by discouraging a defendant from committing acts of domestic violence with the possibility of penalties such as fines or jail time. A protection order works by imposing punishments against a defendant who violates its terms. If the defendant does not want to serve time in jail or face other penalties, he or she will follow the rules of the order until it expires. However, a restraining order is only a paper document. You must take other steps to ensure your safety as well, rather than relying wholly on the defendant obeying the order of protection.