We are focused on helping people who have suffered domestic violence. Our firm is committed to do whatever it takes to protect our clients. If you have been a victim of domestic violence within the past year, or believe you are in imminent danger of domestic violence, we can help you petition the court for an order of protection. Obtaining and maintaining an order of protection without representation is not a simple task. We do understand, however, that many people want to handle the process themselves. As part of our commitment to helping the community, we want to explain how best to proceed.
Please forgive us for sounding technical, but the law is the law and we want to be thorough. The law pertaining to orders of protection can be found under Arizona Revised Statute, A.R.S. 13-3602. Under that law, a person can obtain an order of protection to stop (restrain) another person from communicating, contacting, or even being around them. Orders of protection are specifically meant to stop domestic violence. They are a special type of restraining order for people who have a domestic relationship. A domestic relationship is defined under Arizona Revised Statute, 13-3601:
If you are a victim of domestic violence and share a relationship with the defendant as defined above, you qualify for an order of protection.
So how do you obtain an order of protection? Luckily, orders of protection are easily accessible in almost any courthouse in Arizona. Any magistrate, justice of the peace, or superior court judge in Arizona can grant an order of protection. A person seeking an order of protection must file a verified petition in writing to the court. That is a fancy way of saying you must tell a judge in writing about why you need an order of protection. Remember, this written statement is sworn – lying about what happened constitutes a crime.
The sworn statement to the judge must include certain information. That information includes:
In addition to the sworn statement, a judge shall also review any other pleadings or evidence on file. Evidence includes any evidence of harassment by electronic contact or communication. This usually means harassing text messages or social media posts. After reviewing all this information, the judge can either grant, deny, or set a hearing to determine if the order of protection should be granted. To grant the order of protection, the judge must find reasonable cause that:
If an order of protection is granted, the defendant (person against whom the order of protection is against), can request a hearing to challenge the order of protection. If a defendant chooses to challenge the order of protection, the court must set a hearing within 10 days of the request.
An order of protection hearing is a full-blown evidentiary hearing. Witnesses are called, evidence is presented, and argument is heard. It is best to have an experienced attorney at this hearing to either support your request or defend against the order of protection. At the end of the hearing, the judge will decide to uphold, dismiss, or amend the order of protection.
Remember, orders of protection are only good for one year. After a year, a party must reapply for an order of protection and show good cause for doing so. Again, if you need help with obtaining an order of protection, give us a call at 602-989-5000 and our attorneys would be happy to offer a free consultation.
Here at Alcock and Associates our team and staff are dedicated to helping and representing YOU. The first step is to understand your case. We will take the time to get to know you and your legal situation so that we are best able to answer all of your questions. After your initial consultation with our attorneys, you will know what you are facing and what can happen to your case.
EVERY CONSULTATION IS COMPLETELY FREE AND COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIAL.