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Legal Information: Arkansas

Restraining Orders

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January 3, 2024

What is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database containing protective order information that is used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

All law enforcement officials have access to it, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

How do I register my protection order in Arkansas?

To register your protection order in Arkansas, you must file the order as a foreign (out-of-state) judgment, which means filing a new suit in Arkansas. The abuser will not be notified of the new suit.  Once you have filed the order as a foreign judgment, the court clerk will send the order to the local law enforcement agency who will enter your order into the Arkansas Crime Information Center protection order registry file.1

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Arkansas for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on the AR Places that Help page.

1 Ark. Code §§ 9-15-302(d) & 12-12-215(b)(1)

Do I have to register my protection order in Arkansas in order to get it enforced?

No. Arkansas state law gives full protection to out-of-state protection orders and military protection orders and requires them to be enforced just like a protection order that was issued in Arkansas as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order and can truthfully tell the officer that you believe the order is still in effect. It does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by an Arkansas police officer, but the officer does need to believe that it is a valid (real) order.1

1 Ark. Code § 9-15-302(a) & (e)(1)

Will the abuser be notified if I register my order of protection?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Staying Safe page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our AR Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

What if I don't register my protection order?  Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

It should not be more difficult to have your order enforced even if it is not registered.  Arkansas requires that law enforcement officials enforce out-of-state protection orders as if they were issued in Arkansas whether or not the order has been registered.1  As long as you can give the law enforcement official a copy of the order and tell him/her that you truthfully think it is still in effect, your order should be enforced.2

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area.  An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Arkansas.  To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in Arkansas go to our AR Advocates and Shelters page.

1 Ark. Code § 9-15-302(e)(3)
2 Ark. Code § 9-15-302(a) & (e)(1)