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Know the Laws: Idaho

UPDATED January 3, 2014

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A protection order is a civil order that provides protection from harm by a family member, household member or someone you used to date or are currently dating.

Basic information

back to topWhat is the legal definition of domestic violence in Idaho?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting an order of protection.

In Idaho, domestic violence occurs when a family member (spouse, former spouse, people related by blood, marriage, or adoption), a household member (person who you currently live with, or used to live with, and people that have a child in common), or someone who you date or used to date does any of the following to you:

  • physical injury;
  • sexual abuse;
  • forced imprisonment; or
  • threatening to commit any of the above acts.*
If a protection order has been granted and the abuser (respondent) has notice, a violation of the order can be a misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $5,000.**

* I.C. § 39-6303(1),(3),(6)
** I.C. § 39-6312

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back to topWhat are protection orders? What types are there?

A protection order is a written court order. It is designed to order your abuser not to be violent and harassing in any way, and to protect you and your family from the abuser.

In Idaho, there are two types of protection orders for domestic violence victims: temporary orders and permanent orders.

Temporary Orders. Temporary orders or ex parte orders are issued when a person is in immediate danger. You have to go to court and file a petition for a temporary order. The petition must be filed in the county where you live, where your abuser lives, or where you are temporarily living.* A judge has the power to grant one without your abuser being in court to argue his side of the case. However, temporary orders are granted only if you can prove to the judge - through your story or evidence - that you need a temporary order to prevent immediate harm to you or your family.

A judge will assume that, if you are asking for a temporary or emergency order, you will also want a permanent order.

The order is not enforceable until the abuser is “served” with it. An abuser is served when he has been given a copy of the ex parte order, a copy of the petition that you filed, and notice of the hearing date. In general, a temporary order will lasts for 14 days, or until you have a court hearing for a permanent order.

A temporary order can:

  • restrain the abuser from committing acts of domestic violence
  • order the abuser to leave a shared residence until further order of the court
  • restrain the abuser from interfering with your custody of minor children, or removing children from the jurisdiction of the court
  • restrain the abuser from contacting, molesting, or interfering with minor children in your custody
  • other relief that the judge thinks necessary**
Permanent Orders. Permanent orders offer longer-term protection. A judge can only give you a permanent order after a court hearing in which you and the abuser are both given the opportunity to tell your sides of the story.

Even though they are called permanent orders, they don't automatically last forever. Relief granted in a permanent order is effective for up to one year. The order can become permanent if the court decides that is necessary.***  It is important to be aware when your order expires. You need to ask the court for an extension before the order expires, or you may have to re-petition for a new order. You may be able to have it renewed without a hearing if your abuser does not object to it. You are also able to ask the court to terminate your permanent order. See How do I change or extend the protection order? below.

* I.C. § 39-6304(6)
** I.C. § 39-6308
***I.C. § 39-6306(5)

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back to topIn which county can I file for an order of protection?

You can file for an order of protection in the county where the abuser lives, where you live (where your permanent residence is located) or where you are temporarily living in order to escape the abuse.*

However, if you have left the home and want to keep the address where you are staying confidential, filing in that county would likely not be a good idea since it would alert the abuser to the fact that you are living in that county.

* I.C. § 39-6304

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