Know the Laws: North Dakota
UPDATED December 17, 2015
If you are not eligible for a protection order based on domestic violence, you may be able to get a disorderly conduct restraining order against the abuser. The abuser can be anyone: an acquaintance, intimate partner, family member, etc.
A disorderly conduct restraining order (DCRO) can offer protection to someone who is the victim of disorderly conduct, which is similar to harassment. You do not need to have a specific relationship with the abuser - s/he could be a anyone: a neighbor, acquaintance, intimate partner, family member, etc.
A DCRO could be a good option for someone who is not eligible to file for a domestic violence protection order (DVPO). However, it is possible that a person may actually qualify for both a DCRO and a DVPO and can have both at the same time.*
* Wolt v. Wolt, 778 N.W.2d 802 (Supr. Ct. 2010); N.D.C.C. §14–07.1–07
“Disorderly conduct” is intrusive (interfering) or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that are intended to negatively affect your safety, security, or privacy.* Some examples could be repeated teasing, yelling threats, harassing phone calls, and other behaviors that are intended to scare you. In addition, for the purpose of getting a disorderly conduct restraining order, human trafficking or attempted human trafficking are also included in the definition of "disorderly conduct."*
* N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(1)
Temporary disorderly conduct restraining orders:
A temporary disorderly conduct restraining order will tell the abuser to stop harassing or abusing you and/or prohibit the abuser from contacting you. To get one, you will need to fill out a petition with your name (or the name of the victim if you are applying for a minor), the abuser’s name, and the specific facts that explain what happened and why you need a disorderly conduct restraining order.* Based on your petition, if the judge believes that the abuser committed an act of disorderly conduct, the judge may issue a temporary order. To get a temporary order, the abuser does not need to be notified in advance. A temporary order will be effective until a final disorderly conduct restraining order is served on the abuser or until the temporary order is dismissed by the judge (if you are denied a final order at the hearing).**
A full hearing for a final disorderly conduct restraining order will be scheduled no more than 14 days from the date you get the temporary order (unless you and the abuser both consent to delay the hearing or the abuser has not been served in time for the hearing).***
Disorderly conduct restraining orders:
A (final) disorderly conduct restraining order will only be granted after the abuser has been notified of the date and place of the court hearing and has a chance to tell his/her side of the story at a court hearing. Both you and the abuser will have an opportunity to present evidence, testimony, witnesses, etc. – you might want to get a lawyer for this hearing, especially if you think the abuser might have one. If the judge believes the abuser has committed disorderly conduct, s/he will grant a disorderly conduct restraining order.*** The order will last up to 2 years.****
* N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(3)
** N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(4)
*** N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(5)
**** N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(6)
Anyone who is a victim of disorderly conduct can file for a disorderly conduct restraining order. If you are a minor, (younger than 18 years old), your parent or guardian can file for you.* You do not need to have a specific relationship with the abuser.** It may be a neighbor, acquaintance, intimate partner, family member, etc.
* N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(2)
** See N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(5)
An ex parte temporary order and a final disorderly conduct order can order the person who is harassing you or abusing you to:
These orders do not offer other kinds of relief that a domestic violence protection order can give you, such as temporary custody, the surrender of firearms, or exclusion of the abuser from the home.
* See N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(4)
WomensLaw.org thanks Kelsee Macintosh-Ellig, Supervising Attorney in the Fargo Law Office of Legal Services of North Dakota for her help with this page.