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ACTUALIZADA 17 de diciembre, 2015

Disorderly Conduct Restraining Orders

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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.

Basic info

arribaWhat is a disorderly conduct restraining order?

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 

 

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arribaWhat is the legal definition of disorderly conduct?

“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)

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arribaWhat kinds of disorderly conduct restraining orders are there and how long do they last?

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)

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arribaWho can file for a disorderly conduct restraining order?

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)

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arribaHow can a disorderly conduct restraining order help me?

An ex parte temporary order and a final disorderly conduct order can order the person who is harassing you or abusing you to:

  • stop the disorderly conduct; and
  • have no contact with you.*  

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)

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Getting the restraining order

arribaHow do I get a disorderly conduct restraining order?

You can file for a disorderly conduct order in district court (see our ND Courthouse Locations page).  The steps for obtaining a disorderly conduct order are similar to those for getting a DV protection order.  Please see What are the steps for obtaining a DV protection order? for more information.  If you are in immediate danger, a judge can issue you a temporary disorderly conduct restraining order on the date you file your petition that will last until you have a full court hearing.  For more information about the kinds of disorderly conduct restraining orders, please see What kinds of disorderly conduct restraining orders are there and how long do they last?

Contact the clerk of the court in your area or a lawyer for more information.  A state’s attorney may also advise and assist a person in preparing the documents necessary to get a disorderly conduct restraining order.*

* N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(10)

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arribaDo I need an attorney to file for a disorderly conduct restraining order?

You do not need an attorney to file for a disorderly conduct restraining order.  However, it may be in your interest to hire an attorney, especially if the abuser is represented by one.  Go to our ND Finding a Lawyer page to find help in your area.  If you cannot find a lawyer through one of the organizations listed, a domestic violence organization in your area may be able to refer you to an attorney or legal aid service that will take your case for free or at a reduced rate if your case involves a spouse or intimate partner .

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arribaHow much does it cost to get a disorderly conduct restraining order?

There is a fee to file for a disorderly conduct restraining order* unless you are filing against someone who is committing domestic violence against you (e.g., an intimate partner, spouse, etc.) – then there is no fee.**  The amount of the fee may vary by district court.  You can check with the clerk of court for the fee in your district.  If you feel you cannot afford the fee, you may be able to request that the fee be waived by filing a form called “Affidavit in Support of Petition for Waiver of Fees.”  If you request a fee waiver, the judge will decide if you need to pay the fee or not.*

* See, for example, the Stutsman County State’s Attorney Office website
** N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(11)

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arribaWhat happens if the abuser violates the disorderly conduct restraining order?

If the abuser violates the disorderly conduct restraining order, you can call the police.  The police may arrest the abuser for this violation.  Violation of an order can be a class A misdemeanor* and the abuser can be sentenced to up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $3,000.**  The disorderly conduct restraining order should clearly state what acts will violate the order.***

* N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(8)
** N.D.C.C. § 12.1-32-01(5)
*** N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(7)(a),(b)

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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.

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