Know the Laws: Missouri
UPDATED December 10, 2015
A civil order that provides protection against someone who stalked or sexually assaulted you, regardless of your relationship to that person.
Stalking is when any person purposely and more than once behaves in a way that:
The acts that a stalker could do may include, but are not limited to, following you or making unwanted communication or unwanted contact with you.*
* MO ST § 455.010(14)
Sexual assault is when someone causes you or attempts to cause you to engage involuntarily in any sexual act by force, threat of force, duress (coercion/pressure), or without your consent.*
* MO ST § 455.010(13),(1)(e)
There are two types of orders:
1) Ex parte orders of protection - Ex parte is Latin for "from one side.” A judge can grant you an ex parte order if you prove there is "good cause" to do so. "Good cause" can be when the judge believes there is an immediate and present danger of stalking or sexual assault to you.* A judge may grant you the order based solely on your petition and testimony, without holding a hearing. Ex parte orders may be granted without the abuser’s prior knowledge and without his/her presence in court.
An ex parte order generally will be valid until your court hearing for a full order of protection, which usually takes place within 15 days.**
If you ask for an ex parte order but the judge doesn't give you one, you may get a "Notice of Hearing" instead. Although this is not an order protecting you, it does mean you have a date and time for a hearing, where the judge will decide whether or not to grant you a full order of protection. To get a full order of protection, you will need to prove your allegations of stalking or sexual assault to the judge.
Note: If you desire, you can receive a notification when the ex parte order is served on the abuser.*** Ask the clerk for information on how to get this notification.
2) Full orders of protection - A full order of protection can be issued only after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to tell your sides of the story. If you prove to the judge that you were the victim of stalking or sexual assault, you can get an order of protection that will last for a period of time between 180 days and one year.** Full orders may be extended for a longer period of time. For more information, see How do I extend, change or dismiss an order of protection? in our Orders of Protection due to Domestic Violence section.
* MO ST §455.035(1)
** See MO ST § 455.040(1)
*** MO ST §455.038