If you feel like you or your children are in danger because of another family member, you should contact a Phoenix family lawyer right away. The attorney will be able to guide you through your various options and help you file the necessary paperwork in the most efficient and effective way. Of course, if the threat is truly immediate, you should call the police.
In some cases, your attorney may determine that a restraining order should be obtained to keep your abuser away from you. There are two types of protective order that a judge may allow.
- Emergency Order of Protection- a temporary order for situations where you are facing harm and the risk is immediate. Usually only last for a few days until the situation can be resolved or a more permanent order is granted.
- Permanent Order of Protection- this order lasts for up to a year and may be modified or extended depending on the circumstances. A permanent order is more formal and must be approved a judge.
- You may be eligible for either order of protection if you are “related” to the abuser. Children of an abuser, former spouses or cohabitants of the abuser, and blood or marital relatives of the abuser may all qualify as “relatives” for the purposes of Arizona law.
- If you are the parent or guardian of a minor or incompetent person you may seek a protective order on their behalf to protect them.
If you are being threatened or harassed by a nonfamily member, you also have legal options to make the other person leave you alone. Because there is not necessarily a “relationship” to satisfy the relationship requirement for a restraining order, you will have to pursue other options.
- Injunction Against Harassment – Under Arizona Revised Statute 12-1809, you may seek an injunction to prevent harassment by non-relatives. This could include coworkers, neighbors or boyfriends or girlfriends who have engaged in threats, stalking or other harassment.
Even though you are not blood related or married to the offender, you have the right to live your life free of threats, harassment and intimidation. An experienced attorney can help you evaluate your options and come up with a viable solution to protect yourself and your children.
A restraining order is just a piece of paper. Will it really protect me?
If you have had to seek a protective order against your abuser, you still need to be alert and proactively protect yourself. An irrational or mentally unstable person isn’t likely to care about a legal order to not do something. However, restraining orders can be helpful in most situations and the State of Arizona takes their enforcement very seriously.
In order for the restraining order to be effective it must be served on the other person. You should not do this yourself because the other person will likely be angry and a dangerous situation could result. You or your attorney can have a private legal process server or law enforcement serve the restraining order on the other person.
The order or injunction may require the abuser to maintain a certain distance from you, prohibit phone calls, emails, visits, or require the abuser to not engage in specific forms of harassment. Orders and injunctions are mainly meant to serve as a deterrent to further harm by the abuser. If the abuser disobeys the order, they have committed a crime and will, in most cases, be immediately arrested. Depending on the circumstances and their past criminal history, they can face misdemeanor or felony charges.
Can my ex file a restraining order against me for no reason?
Unfortunately, vengeful family members can abuse the legal system and cause substantial problems for you. In most cases it is desirable for the law to act quickly to prevent harm by granting a restraining order, but sometimes innocent people are the subject of improvidently granted protective orders.
- An upset family member or spouse might try to gain an advantage in a future custody hearing by claiming that you are dangerous or a threat.
- They may try to have you removed from the home or denied unsupervised visitation rights with your children.
- The courts do thoroughly investigate requests for orders of protection, but mistakes can happen.
- Under Arizona law, you only have 10 days to appeal from an order of protection that has been filed against you. You only have 5 days to appeal if you have been ordered out of the home.
If you have been wrongly ordered to stay away or not contact a family member, you should contact an attorney who can help you sort through your options, establish the truth and restore your reputation.
Can my firearms be taken away if there is a restraining order against me?
In some cases, the court may require you to turn over any firearms that you own in the interest of protecting the other party. Any such determination is made on a case-by-case basis. You will get the firearms back upon the expiration of the restraining order period or if you petition the court for early return of your firearms from local law enforcement. This can be a very tricky process and it is in your best interest to consult with a qualified family attorney for the return of any weapons that you were forced to surrender.
Can I file a restraining order without hiring an attorney?
Yes, you may seek a restraining order on your own. You should be aware that there will be a hearing and you will have to present your case in court. This can be an intimidating process, especially if the other party will be in the court and you have to present complex or emotional evidence against them.
It is also important to realize that, if you have reached that stage where legal protection from the other person is truly necessary, you do not want to make any mistakes. An attorney with extensive experience can ensure that you are truly protected from the other person. Contact our attorney’s office today!