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Orders of Protection
A civil court order issued to prevent continuing acts of family violence. Family violence is defined as any act by one member of a family or household intended to physically harm another member, a serious threat of physical harm, or the abuse of a child.
It is intended to prevent the offending person from contacting you. A judge can order that the offending person (defendant) not contact you in person, by phone, in writing or other means and can order the defendant from contacting you at specific locations such as your residence, work, school or other locations. A judge can also order that the defendant surrender and/or not purchase firearms and ammunition.
Victims must remain cautious and have a personal safety plan. It is not an order for temporary child custody for the purpose of preventing a parent from seeing children, unless the children are endangered. It is not an order for visitation.
Emergency Order of Protection
If the Court has closed for business, Emergency Orders of Protection are granted by a judge in writing verbally, or telephonically to protect a person who is in imminent danger of domestic violence. Emergency Orders of Protection are available from local law enforcement agencies. If you are not in immediate danger, you can locate your local law enforcement agency's non-emergency telephone number by calling information at 411. There is a fee charged by your telephone carrier to call 411. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
The law enforcement agency will dispatch an officer to review your situation. If appropriate, the officer will contact the court after hours to request the Court grant an Emergency Order of Protection. If the order is granted, it will be a temporary order only good until the close of the next day of court business following the day the Emergency Order was issued. You will need to go back to the Protective Order Center the next business day to complete and file a Petition for a permanent Order of Protection.
You may apply for and receive an Order of Protection if you meet the following requirements:
The defendant is:
- Your spouse or your former spouse.
- Your roommate or your former roommate.
- The father or mother of your child or your unborn child.
- A person that you were previously or are currently involved with either romantically or sexually.
- Your parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child, or grandchild.
- Your spouse's parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child or grandchild.
The defendant committed, or is about to commit, any of the following:
Any dangerous crime against a child under 15 years of age (A.R.S. 13-604.01) which includes: second degree murder; aggravated assault resulting in serious physical injury or involving the discharge, use or threatening use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument; sexual assault; molestation of a child; sexual conduct with a minor; commercial sexual exploitation of a minor; sexual exploitation of a minor; child abuse; kidnapping; sexual abuse or continuous sexual abuse of a child; taking a child for the purpose of prostitution; child prostitution; involving or using minors in drug offense.
Any of the following acts in which the defendant:
- threatens or intimidates;
- assaults, including use of a dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily harm;
- kidnaps or unlawfully imprisons;
- interferes with the custody of a child unlawfully;
- criminally trespasses or criminally damages; disorderly conduct or stalks;
- abuses a child or vulnerable adult;
- interferes with judicial proceedings;
- uses a telephone to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy, or offend;
- Bring picture ID (if available).
- Your address information (house, work, schools, & other locations you wish to have protected).
- Defendant name, address, date of birth, social security number (if known), description & other useful information if known.
- Dates the incidents occurred and case numbers if applicable.
- If adding minor children, please provide their date of birth & social security numbers if known.
- Expect to be at the Court house for at least 2 hours.
- No Children allowed in court room.
- Special procedures apply when the Plaintiff and/or Defendant are minors.
You may request an Order of Protection at any of the Protective Order Center locations at the Superior Court, or go to one of the municipal courts or one of the justice courts. Regardless of where you reside in Arizona, generally, any court in Arizona may issue an Order of Protection.
When you arrive at the Protective Order Center, you will be required to complete the necessary paperwork using a computerized Domestic Violence prompt system. The paperwork will include a Petition in which you will be required to provide specific acts of domestic violence and name each individual you believe should be included as a protected person. You must sign and swear or affirm to the truth of the petition before a person authorized to administer an oath. Court staff is available to help facilitate your completion of the necessary paperwork and to direct you through the process of filing the paperwork. There is no fee to file a Petition for Order of Protection. Please allow at least two hours to complete the process and be prepared to describe all incidents between yourself and person from whom you are seeking protection. If you are seeking protection from multiple persons, you will be required to complete paperwork for each person.
After you complete the paperwork you will appear before a judge to give testimony regarding the incidents you have alleged in the petition. If the judge finds sufficient grounds, the judge will issue the Order of Protection and you will need to arrange to have the Petition and Order served on the defendant. Please be aware that not all requests are granted and some may require a court hearing with the person you are seeking protection from before issuance.
If the judge signs the Order of Protection, you must give legal notice to the defendant through formal service of a copy of the Petition for the Order of Protection and a copy of the signed Order of Protection. It is the plaintiff's responsibility to initiate the process of serving the defendant. You cannot serve these papers yourself. ONLY law enforcement or a registered process server can serve the Order of Protection. Law enforcement agencies do not charge for service of an Order of Protection. As part of the paperwork you receive after completing a petition, you will receive a list of Law Enforcement Agencies that can serve the Order of Protection and their policies regarding service of Superior Court Orders of Protection. After the law enforcement agency or the private process server serves the papers on the defendant, a certificate or affidavit of service will be filed with the Court by them with the court to prove that the defendant received notice of the Order.
Until the Order is served, you should keep an additional copy of the Order of Protection in your possession in order for law enforcement to complete service on the defendant if the defendant has not been served and comes near you. Call 911; explain that you have an Order of Protection and the defendant is approaching you, and that you also need the paperwork served. Have the law enforcement officer serve the defendant with your copy of the Order of Protection.
Orders of Protection are not valid until served on the defendant. The Order of Protection must be served within one year of its issuance. Once served, an Order of Protection is valid for one year from the date the Order is served.
Even if you initiate contact, the Defendant could be arrested for violating this protective order. If the Defendant does not want you to contact him/her, the Defendant has the right to request a protective order against you.
If you or the Defendant needs to get personal belongings from the other, you may request standby from the judge. Standby allows you or the Defendant to return once with a law enforcement officer to obtain necessary personal belongings from the residence. Neither law enforcement nor this protective order can resolve conflicts over property, title, furniture, finances, real estate, or other ownership issues.
You may request that the judge order the Defendant not to possess, receive, or purchase firearms or ammunition.
If the Defendant disagrees with the Order of Protection, he/she has the right to request a hearing which will be held within 5 to 10 business days after a written request has been filed in the court that issued the order.
To request a hearing on an Order of Protection, the Defendant must go to one of the Protective Order Centers to complete a Request for Hearing form. A hearing date will be set and the plaintiff will be notified of the hearing.
If you live outside Maricopa County, you may download and complete the Notice of Hearing form that is located on the Court's website. You must follow the instructions set forth in the Procedures.
A plaintiff may request that an Order of Protection be dismissed or quashed at any time during the term of the order. Only a judge can dismiss or quash an Order of Protection.
To file a motion to dismiss or quash an Order of Protection, you must go to one of the Protective Order Centers to complete a motion. You will be required to provide identification to court personnel at the time you complete the Motion to Dismiss or Quash. You will be required to appear before a judge and explain why you want to dismiss the order. Please allow at least two hours for the entire process.
A plaintiff may request that an Order of Protection be modified at any time during the term of the Order. Only a judge can modify an Order of Protection.
To modify an Order of Protection, you must go to one of the Protective Order Centers to complete the appropriate paperwork. You will be required to provide identification to court personnel at the time you complete the paperwork. If the defendant has been served with the original Order of Protection but has not requested a hearing, you will be required to appear before a judge and explain why you want to modify the order. If a modification is requested after a hearing has been held on the original Order of Protection, a hearing will be set and notice of the hearing must be given to the defendant.
Please allow at least two hours for the entire process.
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