Arizona Order of Protection Laws
Thank you for visiting our Arizona Order of Protection Frequently Asked Questions page. Our Scottsdale Order of Protection attorneys want to provide you with answers to all of your questions regarding Orders of Protection and family law.
We strive to provide answers to all of your questions regarding Orders of Protection and family law. We encourage you to view our Arizona Order of Protection Laws page, as well as our Family Law Blog to obtain more information about Arizona order of protection articles.
What are Orders of Protection and Injunctions Against Harassment in Arizona?
An Order of Protection and an Injunction Against Harassment are types of protective orders from the court forbidding a person from having contact with the person requesting the protective order. The person seeking the protective order must allege facts to demonstrate that the other party has abused or repeatedly harassed the party seeking the order or that an act of violence is likely to occur in the future. The court may grant a spouse the exclusive use and possession of a common residence in the order of protection.
You must be able to show the court the person you want protection from has committed or may commit an act of domestic violence. You do not have to be physically injured or hurt to be a victim of domestic violence if you can show that the other person has done or may do any of the following:
- endangered you
- threatened you or attempted to intimidate you
- assaulted you with their body or with a weapon
- interfered with the custody of your children
- restrained you or held you prisoner
- attempted or threatened to kidnap you
- trespassed upon your property or intentionally cause damage to your property
- displayed a deadly weapon in a threatening way or threatened you with a deadly weapon
- committed other acts of disorderly conduct
What is the difference between an Order of Protection and an Injunction Against Harassment?
The most important difference between the two protective orders is that an Order of Protection applies when there is a familial type relationship between the parties, such as a spouse, a former spouse, any person with whom you live or have lived with, someone with whom you have a child and against most other relatives that are related by blood or by marriage.
An Injunction Against Harassment, however, may only be filed against a person when there is no familial type relationship between the parties, such as neighbors, co-workers, and acquaintances.
Where do I obtain a protective order in Arizona?
You may go to any city court, justice court or superior court to complete the Petition. You may file the request for the protective order in any of these courts unless a prior dissolution of marriage or paternity case had been filed in the Superior Court in which case you should file the request for the protective order in the Superior Court. Follow the instructions and fill out the sections of the Petition that ask you why you want the Order and what relief you want. Be as detailed as possible when you fill out the forms, making sure you have the following information if possible:
- your address and phone number (or ask to keep it confidential)
- your employer’s address and phone number
- the name of your child(ren)’s school(s) and the addresses and phone number(s) (only if included on Order)
- other addresses you want the other person to stay away from
- the other person’s address, phone number, employer, and a description of that person
- any papers showing past civil or criminal court actions against that person
- any old orders against that person
- A list of the things that person has done and be specific; include dates, if you called the police or had to go to the doctor or hospital. Bring any police reports, medical records, etc.
What do I do if The Person Violates the Order by Contacting Me?
It is a crime in Arizona for a party to violate the terms of a protective order if they were served with the petition and order of protection prior to initiating the prohibited contact. Typically, the person violating the protective order is charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. Repeated violations, however, can result in the filing of felony stalking and/or aggravated harassment charges.
How Do I Get an Arizona Order of Protection Dismissed or Modified?
How to Fight an Order of Protection in Arizona
A protective order is valid for one full year from the date it was served upon you. You are entitled to request a hearing to require the other party to prove his or her allegations in court. You may request that hearing at any time before the expiration of that order by filing a request for hearing in the court that issued the order. After hearing the testimony of witnesses, the court may uphold the protective order in its entirety, may modify the order, or may dismiss the order completely.
What Can You Do If Your Children Are On the Arizona Order of Protection?
A protective order is not to be used as way of determining custody of a child. If your child is included on a protective order, you have three options:
- Ask for a hearing to modify the protective order in the Court that issued it.
- If the order does not prohibit contact with children, arrange for parenting time through a neutral third party (a friend or relative) not involved with the order of protection.
- File an action in the Superior Court, as part of a domestic relations case, to clarify your custody rights or parenting time schedule.
The fact an Order of Protection was issued and served upon you does not mean the judge who granted the Order of Protection believes you did the things you are alleged to have done in order for the other party to be granted an Order of Protection.
The law in Arizona simply requires a judge to determine whether the allegations in the Order of Protection are sufficient, if true, to justify issuance of the Order of Protection, which is different than having a judge rule that you did or did not do the acts alleged in the Petition for Order of Protection.
If you request a hearing on an Order of Protection, both parties will have to testify under oath as to the allegations and you run the risk of the judge ruling you actually committed the acts, which can be used against you in a subsequent child custody trial because that judicial ruling will be used against you.
If you children are listed on the Order of Protection, it may appear you are stuck between the proverbial “rock” and a “hard place”. Fortunately, you have another option. The judge who would make the decision on the Order of Protection is not the same judge that will be assigned to your child custody case.
The Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled a party may request the trial judge to remove the children from the Order of Protection even if the parent never requested a hearing on the Order of Protection. For more indepth information on using your trial judge, as opposed to requesting a hearing on the Order of Protection, read our synopsis of the Arizona Court of Appeals decision in the Courtney v. Hon. Foster case.
Can You Be Removed From Your Residence By an Arizona Order of Protection?
A judge is allowed to order the removal of the defendant from the parties common residence if the judge determines there is reasonable cause to believe physical harm may result if the plaintiff is not granted the exclusive use and possession of that residence. The judge may, however, allow the defendant to return to the residence under the supervision of a police officer to retrieve his or her personal property.
Can You Be Restricted from Owning a Firearm as a Result of an Order of Protection?
A judge may order a defendant to turn over his or her firearms if the judge finds the defendant poses a credible threat to the plaintiff or other protected persons. The person subject to such an order must surrender his or her firearms to a local law enforcement agency.
You may, however, request the return of your firearms after the protective order expires or may seek a hearing before that order expires to allow you to obtain the return of your firearms. You should, however, consult with an attorney because there are serious implications to your right to possess any firearm should you request a hearing on the Order of Protection and you lose.
Contact Our Scottsdale Order of Protection Attorneys
Contact us today or call us at (480) 305-8300 to schedule your consultation our Scottsdale Arizona order of protection attorneys regarding an AZ order of protection or any other Arizona family law matter.