Orders of Protection and Injunctions Against Harassment

You may know them as restraining orders if you come from other states, but in Arizona they are called Orders of Protection and Injunctions Against Harassment.  They are orders from a Court prohibiting a person from having contact with another person, protected minors, being in certain places, and possessing firearms.  In short, they are powerful tools for protection that can often be abused by the less scrupulous.

What’s the Difference Between the Two?

An Order of Protection is issued by a Court, as provided by A.R.S. § 13-3602, to restrain a person from committing an act of violence.  In determining whether to issue such an order, the Court has to determine that there is reasonable cause to believe that either (1) the other party may commit an act of domestic violence, or (2) the other party has committed an act of domestic violence within the past year (or longer if the court finds good cause exists to consider a longer period).  For purposes of an order of protection, an act of domestic violence requires both a crime prescribed in A.R.S. 13-3601(A) and a relationship between the parties which can include:

  • Marriage or former marriage or persons residing or having resided in the same household
  • Having a child in common
  • Either party is pregnant by the other party
  • Relation to the person committing the crime or their spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, or sister, or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law
  • The victim to the crime is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the defendant, or
  • A currently or previously romantic or sexual relationship.

After a Court grants an Order of Protection

If the Court grants a petition for an Order of Protection, then it may:

  • Enjoin the defendant from committing a domestic violence offense
  • Grant one party the use and exclusive possession of their join residence
  • Restrain the defendant from contacting the plaintiff or other specifically designated persons or from coming near their residence, place of employment, or school
  • Prohibit the defendant from possessing or purchasing a firearm for the duration of the order and order the transfer by the defendant of any firearm owned or possessed to a law enforcement agency
  • Require a defendant to participate in a domestic violence offender treatment program
  • Grant exclusive care, custody, or control of any animal owned by the plaintiff, defendant, or minor child residing in the residence
  • Or any relief necessary for the protection of the alleged victim and other specifically designated persons that the Court finds proper under the circumstances

What is an Injunction Against Harassment?

An Injunction Against Harassment, pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-1809, functions in the same way as an Order of Protection, except that instead of inquiring into whether a party has committed an act of domestic violence or may commit one, it instead looks to whether the defendant engaged in harassment against the plaintiff.

After a Court grants an Injunction Against Harassment

If the Court grants an Injunction Against Harassment, it can:

  • Enjoin the defendant from committing an act of harassment
  • Restrain the defendant from contacting the plaintiff or other designated persons and restrain them from coming near a residence, place of employment, or school.
  • Grant relief necessary for the protection of the alleged victim and designated persons as proper under the circumstances.

Injunctions Against Harassment do not require a domestic relationship between the two parties as the Order of Protection does.

With both an Order of Protection and an Injunction Against Harassment, violating the order can lead to prosecution for Interfering with Judicial Proceedings.

How Are They Granted?

To obtain an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment, a person just needs to apply.  If the judge determines that their written statements in the petition are enough to meet the burden, the order will be issued without the other party present and without a hearing.

Once an order is served, then it is valid for a year.

Upon service of either an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment, a defendant can request a hearing to challenge the basis for the order.  Such a hearing is required to take place within 10 days of the request and cannot be continued absent compelling reasons.  At the hearing, the burden is on the plaintiff to show that there is reasonable cause to issue the order.  At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court can quash the order, leave it in place, or modify it.

Do I Need an Attorney?

An attorney is indispensable if you are considering obtaining an Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment or considering requesting a hearing against the order placed against you.  You need the assistance of a lawyer that is experienced in handling Orders of Protection or Injunctions Against Harassment to ensure that the Court receives all the information necessary and that your rights are protected.  The attorneys at AZ Defenders have handled countless Orders of Protection and Injunctions Against Harassment and can help you get the best possible result for your case.  Call 480-456-6400 or contact us online for a free consultation today.

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