How to Fight a Restraining Order in Arizona
What many refer to as a restraining order is actually technically called either an Order of Protection or an Injunction to Prohibit Harassment in the Arizona court system. An Order of Protection is used when the two parties have a personal relationship with each other, are married, or have children together. An Injunction Against Harassment is used when the parties do not have a close personal relationship with each other, such as a neighbor, co-worker, or former friend.
Whichever form of restraining order you obtain, that restraining order is intended to stop you from contacting the person listed by any means, unless stated otherwise in the order. It may also specifically list locations you must avoid (i.e. the workplace, home, etc.) where the protected party may be.
In some cases an order of protection may be issued by the court based upon false, misleading, or exaggerated allegations. It is unfortunate, but protective orders are sometimes issued without the serious consideration they deserve. In many cases, the order or protection may be issued even though the court has not heard the other side of the story.
Most cases of orders of protection being based upon false accusations can be traced back to divorce or child custody dispute in which one party simply wishes to make themselves look better in the eyes of the court. As the order of protection is a serious legal document, it can be a problem that could affect your ability to see your children or even enter your own place of residence. In addition to these tremendous problems, it will show up on a basic background check. This may lead to bias against you in efforts to obtain employment or housing.
In Arizona, orders of protection last for one year from the date they are served. There is the possibility of gaining a modification or even having a restraining order dismissed in Arizona prior to the expiration of the order of protection. Some judges may be cautious in dismissing or modifying a restraining order in Arizona out of concern something bad may happen to the protected party. Getting the order dismissed can be difficult. If you are attempting to have an order of protection dismissed, make sure you obey the order until it is dismissed.
How to Fight a Restraining Order in Arizona | What to Do
Your first step in fighting a false restraining order in Arizona is to file a request for a hearing on the Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment. The court must schedule a hearing within ten days of the date of the request for hearing or within five days if the restraining order prevents you from returning to your residence.
The person who obtained the restraining order has the burden of presenting evidence to establish the allegations set forth in the petition filed to obtain the order of protection. You will have the ability to cross examine each witness through proper questions. When he or she is done presenting all of his or her evidence, the court will conclude if he or she presented sufficient evidence to establish a basis for the restraining order. If the court concludes sufficient evidence was not presented, the judge will dismiss the order of protection and you do not have to do anything else
If the court finds the person who asked for the order of protection has provided sufficient evidence to establish his or her claims, the court will then allow the defendant to testify and provide evidence, such as the testimony of other witnesses, photographs, police reports or any other relevant documentation.
The court will then decide if the order of protection will stay in place, be modified, or be dismissed, which is referred to as quashing the order of protection.
Understand all of your testimony will be on the record and under oath. The statements you make in that order of protection hearing could be used by law enforcement to arrest and prosecute you for a crime, so it is important to know what you are doing to ensure you are legally protected.
Contact a qualified attorney if an order of protection has already been issued against you and you feel it is unfair and/or based upon inaccurate information. At Hildebrand Law, experienced family law attorneys are available to discuss your case and advise you on your chances of modifying or dismissing an Order of Protection.