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In Arizona, restraining orders are also known as Orders of Protection or Injunctions against Harassment. These protective orders are most commonly used to prevent individuals from harassing or committing acts of domestic violence against another person.

Although these court orders are designed to protect someone from violence or threats of violence, they are not infallible, so it is important for you to have a safety plan in place if you have been granted an order of protection.

How to obtain an emergency order of protection

In seeking an Order of Protection or an Injunction against Harassment, the petitioner must go to court and submit a petition for an order of protection or an Injunction against Harassment against the defendant. The petitioner will then have a hearing in front of a judge, without the defendant present (an “ex parte” proceeding).

When petitioning the court for an Order of Protection or an Injunction against Harassment , you should be as detailed and specific as possible. You must include specific dates of when domestic violence, threats of domestic violence or acts of harassment occurred, and relate the specific details of what happened.

If the judge grants your request, the court will issue an Order of Protection or Injunction against Harassment that is valid for twelve (12) months. The order can be drafted very broadly, prohibiting all types of contact such as contact at work, at home and through electronic means. If you want to allow some contact, the judge can permit certain types of contact, such as phone calls.

If the two parties are allowed to contact each other and reconcile during that year, the Petitioner can ask the judge to lift the restraining order through a court proceeding.

Important considerations when seeking a protective order

If you are seeking an Order of Protection or an Injunction against Harassment, the defendant can contest the order and request a hearing. If this happens, both of you will go before a judge and present evidence, such as police and medical records, phone logs, text messages, and even your own witness testimonies. It is important to be as detailed as possible, so keep thorough records to demonstrate the need for your hearing.

Once you have received an Order of Protection or an Injunction against Harassment limiting or prohibiting contact with the Petitioner, you should strictly follow the terms of the order. If you are not allowed to see the defendant, you should not attempt to see him or her or initiate contact through a third party with exception to an attorney.

Finally, Order of Protection or Injunctions against Harassment are not meant to be used as child custody orders or to resolve landlord-tenant disputes. They are meant to protect people who are being harassed, abused, or stalked. Judges take a dim view of people who abuse court resources for their own gain.

If you believe you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence, there are many resources available to you. You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline online or by phone at 1−800−799−7233.

This article does not contain legal advice. If you need assistance in filing a restraining order in Arizona, contact the experienced domestic violence attorneys at West, Longenbaugh, and Zickerman today for a consultation.