Know the Laws: Arizona
UPDATED August 5, 2015
A domestic violence order of protection is a civil order that provides protection from a family or household member.
This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting an order of protection.
Arizona law defines "domestic violence" as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts:
Note: For the act to be considered domestic violence, you must have a specific relationship with the abuser, which is explained in Who can get an order of protection?
To read the legal definitions of these crimes, you can go to the AZ Statutes page.
* A.R.S. § 13-3601(A)
A domestic violence order of protection, also called a "restraining order," is a civil court order from a judicial officer, such as a judge or magistrate. To issue an order of protection, a judicial officer must find that domestic violence has occurred and that you have a specific relationship with the abuser. For more information, see Who can get an order of protection?
There are two types of orders of protection:
* U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 Population Estimates
** A.R.S. § 13-3624
*** A.R.S. § 13-3602(K)
In counties with a population of 150,000 or less, there isn’t a requirement to provide emergency orders of protection after court hours. However, protection may be available through a registered release order. Within 24 hours of a person’s arrest for a domestic violence offense, the court must send a certified copy of his/her release order to the local sheriff’s office. In the release order, there are conditions that the abuser must comply with and these conditions can be made to protect you from the abuser.* Examples of such conditions include staying away from the victim or participating in a counseling program.**
Each sheriff’s office keeps copies of release orders. The police can tell you where you can find the abuser’s release order to learn what conditions were placed on him/her.*
A release order can also be also issued if the abuser is arrested for violating an order of protection.***
* A.R.S. § 13-3624(B) and Arizona Supreme Court, Things You Should Know About Protective Orders (2002)
** AZCADV, Advocacy in Domestic Violence Cases; A Lay Legal Advocates’ Guide to Arizona Law (2012)
*** A.R.S. § 13-3602(O)
In an order of protection, a judicial officer can order:
Nothing. There are no fees for filing or serving an order of protection.*
* A.R.S. § 13-3602(D)
As a resident of Arizona, you can file for a domestic violence protective order in any superior, municipal or justice court in any county in Arizona. The only exceptions are that:
No, you do not need an attorney to file for an order of protection. However, it may be helpful to have one, especially if the abuser requests a hearing. For more information, see Will I have to face the abuser in court?
You will find information on legal assistance and domestic violence organizations under the Where to Find Help tab at the top of this page. You might also want to check the AZ Download Court Forms page to see which forms you may have to fill out in court.
Maybe. A judge can issue you an order of protection without a full court hearing and without the abuser present.* However, a judge could also require further court hearings before granting the order of protection. If so, a hearing may be scheduled within 10 days and the court will notify the abuser of the court date.** The abuser has a right to appear in court for the hearing date(s).
If the judge issues you an order of protection without the abuser present, the abuser will be served with a copy of the order of protection against him/her. Your order will go into effect as soon as s/he is served with a copy of the order. Your order will last for one year from when the abuser is served.***
The abuser has the right to request a hearing at any time during the year your order is in effect for a chance to have the order of protection changed or canceled.**** If s/he does request a court hearing, you must attend that hearing and you may have to face the abuser in court. If you do not go to the hearing, a judge may dismiss (take away) your order of protection (also known as “quashing the order”).
If the abuser does not request a court hearing, you might not have to go back to court. However, you may have additional court hearings if you want to change your order of protection, or if the abuser violates the order. The abuser may come to those hearings.
* A.R.S. § 13-3602(E)
** A.R.S. § 13-3602(F)
*** A.R.S. § 13-3602(K)
**** A.R.S. § 13-3602(I)