Know the Laws: Idaho
UPDATED October 9, 2016
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.
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:
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:
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
A temporary ex parte protection order can do any of the following:
A final protection order can do any of the following:
Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.
* ID Code § 39-6308(1)
** ID Code § 39-6306(1)
You may file for a protection order if you have been the victim of abuse by:
In Idaho, you may apply for a protection order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who can get a protection order? You must also be the victim of an act of domestic violence, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Idaho?
There is no cost to get a protection order.*
You do not need a lawyer to file for a protection order, however, it may be helpful to have one to make sure that your rights are protected, especially if the abuser has a lawyer. If when you go to the hearing, the respondent (abuser) has a lawyer, you have the right to request that the hearing be delayed so that you can obtain a lawyer as well. Also, the law says that if the judge believes that it is necessary for both parties to be represented by lawyers, the judge can enter an order to ensure that lawyers are retained. The order may require either you or respondent (or both) to pay for the costs of counsel. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can try to get a lawyer through a local legal services organization if you qualify. Go to ID Finding a Lawyer for legal referrals.
If you are representing yourself, the domestic violence organizations in your area and/or court staff may be able to answer some of your questions or help you fill out the necessary court forms.
* I.C. § 39-6305
** I.C. § 39-6306(1)
Even if you don't qualify for an order, the abuser may be committing a crime. To read the definitions of some crimes in Idaho, you can go to our ID Crimes page. If charges are pressed against the perpetrator, a judge may be able to order him/her to stay away from you through a criminal court protection order.
Victims of stalking and harassment can also go to the Stalking Resource Center website for more information on stalking and harassment laws, as well as ways to keep safe.
Protection orders also do not cover many types of emotional or mental abuse. If you're being emotionally abused, please contact a domestic violence organization in your area. They can help you figure out your options and offer you support. To find help in your state, please click on the Where to Find Help tab at the top of this page.
Go to the courthouse for your county. In most counties you will file in the Magistrate Division, but in a few, you will file in District Court. You can find a court near you by going to our Courthouse Locations page.
Find the civil court clerk and request a petition (application) for a protection order. Also tell the clerk that you want a temporary order. You can file for them at the same time.
The clerk can give you the petition and any other forms you will need to fill out. You can also find links to online forms by going to ID Download Court Forms.
Remember to bring some form of identification, like your driver's license or other ID that includes your picture. It can also be helpful to bring any identifying information you have about your abuser, such as his picture, addresses where he lives and works, and a description of his car.
Note: Idaho has Court Assistance Offices (CAO), which provide various services to the public to help ensure equal access to the courts. Services include: review of CAO court forms and documents before they are filed; availability of public access computers for interactive forms; help with general form/document questions; assistance with calculating child support and completing a parenting plan; collection of instructional videos, brochures, and pamphlets on topics such as introduction to the court system, family law matters, domestic violence, etc.; legal research assistance on Law Library web site. To find your local office, click here.
Carefully fill out the forms. Write briefly about the most recent incident of violence, using descriptive language - words like "slapping", "hitting", "grabbing", "choking", "threatening", etc. - that fits your situation. Be specific. Include details and dates, if you can.
On these forms, you will be referred to as the "petitioner" and your abuser will be called the "respondent".
A domestic violence organization may be able to provide you with help filling out the form. See Where to Find Help for the location of an organization near you.
Do not sign the petition until you have shown it to a clerk. It may need to be notarized or signed in the presence of court personnel.
After you finish filling out your petition, bring it to the court clerk. The clerk will forward it to a judge. The judge may want to ask you questions as s/he looks over your petition.
After looking your petition over, the judge will decide whether or not to give you a temporary protection order.
Whether or not you get a temporary order, the judge will set a hearing date for a permanent order. You will be given papers that tell you when your hearing will be, usually within 14 days.
Your abuser has to be given paperwork from the court that tells him about any temporary orders you have and information about when the hearing for a permanent order will be. When he is given that paperwork, he has been "served".
Your temporary order will not go into effect until your abuser has been served. Usually law enforcement personnel will attempt to serve the abuser in person.
The court will send copies of the order and notice of hearing to the police or sheriff. Do not try and serve the abuser in person with the papers yourself.
To get a protection order against your abuser, you must:
When you went to court to fill out your petition, the judge should have given you a date to return to court for a hearing. You must go to that hearing. If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary order will expire and you will have to start the process over. It may be helpful to have a lawyer at the hearing to make sure that your rights are protected, especially if the abuser has a lawyer. If when you go to the hearing, the respondent (abuser) has a lawyer, you have the right to request that the hearing be delayed so that you can obtain a lawyer as well. Also, the law says that if the judge believes that it is necessary for both parties to be represented by lawyers, the judge can enter an order to ensure that lawyers are retained. The order may require either you or respondent (or both) to pay for the costs of counsel.* If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can try to get a lawyer through a local legal services organization if you qualify. Go to ID Finding a Lawyer for legal referrals.
If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you a protection order or the judge may order a new hearing date.
* I.C. § 39-6306(1)
Call the police or sheriff, even if you think it is a minor violation. An abuser can be arrested, fined and/or jailed. If your order was granted and abuser was given notice, a violation can be a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $5,000.*
It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case.
Make sure a police report is filled out, even if the police do not arrest your abuser. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it can help you change or extend the order.
Protection orders can be renewed for an "appropriate" time period as directed by the judge or they can be made permanent.* If you want an extension, you have to return to court to file a motion before your first order expires.
If the abuser objects to the extension, there will be a hearing where the abuser can be present and you will have to prove to the judge why you need the order extended. The abuser will have the chance to object to the order being extended. If the abuser does not object to the extension, then you will not have this hearing and the order can be extended without going back to court.*
* I.C. § 39-6306(5)
Your protection order is automatically good throughout Idaho as well as in other states. Federal law provides what is called "full faith and credit," which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it is valid wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands.* Different states may have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders. You may want to talk to a local domestic violence program in the state where you will be living for more information.
You may also call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111 x 2) for information on enforcing an out-of-state order.
* 18 U.S.C. §§ 2265, 2266