To get an Order of Protection, the process is relatively straightforward. The usual process is as follows:
- You fill out a Petition for Orders of Protection with the information that supports the request. You will need to swear under oath that these statements are truthful, so be clear in what you include in the petition.
- After the magistrate reviews your request, they will usually issue an ex parte Order of Protection, which is a temporary order that stops the other party from contacting you for any reason. Keep this order with you at all times.
- An ex parte hearing is then set (normally within 15 days).
- The accused will be served with a notice of the hearing. The police or sheriff will deliver it if you have a temporary protection order, since you will not want to be in touch with that party.
After all this happens, the hearing will take place. As the person who petitioned the court, you need to show that the respondent committed domestic abuse, stalking or sexual assault. You will have to convince the judge that your safety is at risk and that you need a longer Order of Protection moving forward.
At the hearing, you will need to ask for a year-long emergency protective order, or EPO. You must go to the hearing. If you do not, the temporary protection order will expire, and you will lose that protection.
What happens if the other party violates the order?
Violating an order of protection is against the law and can result in an arrest by the police. If the individual violates the order of protection, you should call 911 immediately and have the police or sheriff come to you. They may choose to arrest the individual immediately and can hold them in jail for up to 12 hours.
If they are arrested, there is a potential for the district attorney to prosecute them for violating the order. You can also choose to file for civil contempt when a person violates a protective order, which doesn’t involve the authorities.
Keep in mind that your EPO or other protective order is good as long as you are within the United States, its tribal lands or U.S. territories. Every state enforces out-of-state protection orders differently, so it’s best to educate yourself on the state’s policies if you currently have a protection order in place.