Domestic Violence Orders of Protection
What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Arizona?
This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting an order of protection.
Arizona law defines “domestic violence” as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts:
- physical assault, such as hitting or kicking;
- threatening words or conduct;
- harassment by phone and in person;
- photographing, videotaping, recording, or secretly watching you without your consent:
- while you are in a private place (i.e., bathroom, bedroom) doing a private act (i.e., urinating, having sexual intercourse); or
- while your breasts, buttocks, or genitals are exposed in a way that they are not normally exposed in public;
- the unlawful distribution of nude/sexual images of you/your child;
- endangerment (placing you at risk of immediate death or physical injury);
- unlawful imprisonment;
- criminal trespass;
- criminal damage;
- disobeying a court order;
- custodial interference;
- negligent homicide, manslaughter and murder;
- neglect, abandonment or cruel mistreatment of an animal;
- preventing or interfering with the use of a telephone in an emergency;
- abuse to a vulnerable adult or child;
- certain crimes against children; and/or
- disorderly conduct, such as:
- reckless display of a dangerous instrument
- discharge of a deadly weapon and/or
- abusive language.1
Note: For the act to be considered domestic violence, you must have a specific relationship with the abuser, which is explained in Who can get an order of protection?
To read the legal definitions of these crimes, you can go to our Selected Arizona Statutes page.
1 A.R.S. § 13-3601(A)
What types of protection orders are there? How long do they last?
A domestic violence order of protection is a civil court order from a judicial officer, such as a judge or magistrate. There are two types of orders of protection:
Emergency Orders of Protection (EOP). Emergency orders of protection are designed to protect people in immediate and present danger of domestic violence. A judicial officer can grant an EOP orally or in writing. The EOP is valid only for 72 hours or until the close of business on the day after it is issued, whichever is longer. You should file for a more permanent order of protection from the court before the emergency order expires. To get an EOP, contact a law enforcement officer, who can help you get one.1
Counties with a population of 150,000 or more are required to have EOPs available after court hours and will issue them by phone. (These counties include Maricopa, Mohave, Pima, Pinal, Yavapai, and Yuma.)2 Counties with a population of 150,000 or less may issue EOPs by phone but they are not required to.1 However, in these counties, you can receive protection through a registered release order. For more information, see What is a release order?
Orders of Protection. When you file for an order of protection in court during regular business hours, a judge can issue you a year-long order of protection without a full court hearing and without the abuser present. To determine whether the order should be issued, the judge will review:
- your petition;
- any other pleadings (documents in which either party makes or responds to allegations); and
- any evidence offered by you, including any evidence of harassment by electronic contact or communication.3
The judge is supposed to issue an order of protection if there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant may commit an act of domestic violence or that s/he committed an act of domestic violence within the past year or within a longer period of time if there is “good cause” for the judge to consider a longer period of time.3
An order of protection lasts for one year after it is served on the abuser. (This is true even if the order is modified (changed) during that one-year period.)4 However, at any time during the year that your order is in effect, the abuser has the right to request a hearing to request that the order of protection be changed or dismissed. The hearing will be held within ten days from the date requested (unless the judge finds a good reason to continue the hearing). However, if you are granted exclusive use of the home, the hearing must be held within five days from the date requested. If s/he does request a court hearing, you must attend that hearing or else the judge may dismiss (take away) your order of protection (also known as “quashing the order”).5 If the abuser does not request a court hearing, you might not have to go back to court.
Note: If the judge does not give you the order of protection when you file your petition, the judge could set the case down for further court hearings in order to decide whether or not to issue the order of protection. If this happens, a hearing may be scheduled within 10 days and the court will notify the abuser of the court date.6 The abuser has a right to appear in court for the hearing date(s) to fight against the order being issued.
1 A.R.S. § 13-3624
2U.S. Census Bureau
3 A.R.S. § 13-3602(E)
4 A.R.S. § 13-3602(N)
5 A.R.S. § 13-3602(L)
6 A.R.S. § 13-3602(F)
What protections can I get in an order of protection?
In an order of protection, a judicial officer can order:
- the abuser not to commit any of the offenses included as domestic violence;
- the abuser to have no contact with you or with anyone else named in the order (this could include telephone calls, texts, letters, messages through someone else, personal contact, etc.);
- the abuser to stay away from your residence, place of employment, and school or those of anyone else named in the order;
- one party to have exclusive use of a home shared by you and the abuser (if there is reasonable cause to believe that the abuser may cause you physical harm);
- law enforcement to accompany a party to a shared home to get his/her belongings;
- the abuser to turn in any firearms in his/her possession to law enforcement and not possess firearms;
- the abuser to stay away from and not harm any animal owned by you, the abuser or a minor child in either of your homes (and award you care and custody of the animal);
- other relief that is appropriate and necessary for your protection and the protection of anyone else specifically named in the order; and
- the abuser to complete a domestic violence offender treatment program or any other program deemed appropriate by the court (as part of a final order).1
1 A.R.S. § 13-3602(G)
What is a release order?
In counties with a population of 150,000 or less, there isn’t a requirement to provide emergency orders of protection after court hours. However, protection may be available through a registered release order. Within 24 hours of a person’s arrest for a domestic violence offense, the court must send a certified copy of his/her release order to the local sheriff’s office. In the release order, there are conditions that the abuser must comply with and these conditions can be made to protect you from the abuser.1 Examples of such conditions include staying away from the victim or participating in a counseling program.2
Each sheriff’s office keeps copies of release orders. The police can tell you where you can find the abuser’s release order to learn what conditions were placed on him/her.1
A release order can also be also issued if the abuser is arrested for violating an order of protection.3
1 A.R.S. § 13-3624(B)
2AZCADV, A Lay Advocates’ Guide to Arizona Law (2014)
3 A.R.S. § 13-3602(R)
How much does an order of protection cost?
There are no fees for filing or serving an order of protection.1
1 A.R.S. § 13-3602(D)
Do I need a lawyer?
No, you do not need an attorney to file for an order of protection. However, it may be helpful to have one, especially if the abuser requests a hearing. For more information, see Will I have to face the abuser in court?
You will find information on legal assistance and domestic violence organizations under the Places that Help tab at the top of this page. You might also want to check the AZ Download Court Forms page to see which forms you may have to fill out in court.
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.
In which county can I file for an order of protection?
As a resident of Arizona, you can file for a domestic violence protective order in any superior, municipal or justice court in any county in Arizona. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however:
- If two courts are located within a one mile distance, then one court can be designated as the court which issues protective orders;
- If you have filed an action for divorce, separation, paternity or annulment with the superior court (involving the same person from whom you want protection), then you need to return to the superior court to request an order of protection;
- If the defendant is less than 12 years of age, only the juvenile division of the superior court may issue the order or injunction;1 and
- If your children are listed as “protected parties” in the order, you may be referred to the superior court if you file in another court.2
1 A.R.S. § 13-3602(A)
2 See Plaintiff’s Guide Sheet for Protective Orders on the Arizona Courts website
Will I have to face the abuser in court?
Maybe. A judge can issue you an order of protection without a full court hearing and without the abuser present. To determine whether the order requested should be issued without a further hearing, the judge will review:
- your petition;
- any other pleadings (documents in which either party makes or responds to allegations);
- any evidence offered by you, including any evidence of harassment by electronic contact or communication.1
If the judge issues you an order of protection without the abuser present, the abuser will be served with a copy of the order of protection against him/her. Your order will go into effect as soon as s/he is served with a copy of the order. Your order will last for one year from when the abuser is served.2
The abuser has the right to request a hearing at any time during the year your order is in effect to ask the judge to change of cancel the order of protection. If s/he does request a court hearing, you must attend that hearing and you may have to face the abuser in court. If you do not go to the hearing, a judge may dismiss (take away) your order of protection (also known as “quashing the order”).3
If the abuser does not request a court hearing, you might not have to go back to court. However, you may have additional court hearings if you want to change your order of protection, or if the abuser violates the order. The abuser may come to those hearings.
Note: If the judge does not give you the order of protection when you file your petition, the judge could set the case down for further court hearings in order to decide whether or not to issue the order of protection. If this happens, a hearing may be scheduled within 10 days and the court will notify the abuser of the court date.4 The abuser has a right to appear in court for the hearing date(s) to fight against the order being issued.
1 A.R.S. § 13-3602(E)
2 A.R.S. § 13-3602(N)
3 A.R.S. § 13-3602(L)
4 A.R.S. § 13-3602(F)
If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?
When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.
There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:
- The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
- One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
- If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.
However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.
You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.
Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.
Who can get an order of protection
Who can get an order of protection?
You can ask the court for an order of protection against someone who has committed or may commit an act of domestic violence if you meet a “relationship requirement.” In other words, a judicial officer must find that you have one of the specific relationships listed below with the abuser:
- You are or were married to the abuser;
- You are related to the abuser or the abuser’s spouse by blood, marriage, or by court order in one of the following ways:
- brother or sister
- brother-in-law or sister-in-law;
- You have or had a romantic or sexual relationship with the abuser;
- You live, or used to live, in the same household as the abuser;
- You have a child with the abuser, or you are pregnant with the abuser’s child (or the abuser is pregnant with your child);
- You (the victim) are a minor who lives or has lived in the same household as the abuser and:
- you are related by blood to a former spouse of the abuser (for example, the abuser is your ex-stepdad), or
- you are related by blood to a person who resides or has resided in the same household as the abuser (for example, the abuser is your mother’s live-in boyfriend).1
You can also file for an order of protection on behalf of someone else if:
- You are the parent, legal guardian, or person who has legal custody of a minor or an incapacitated person who is a victim; or
- The victim is either temporarily or permanently unable to request an order.2
If you are not eligible for a domestic violence order of protection, you may qualify for an injunction against harassment (IAH).
1 A.R.S. § 13-3601(A)
2 A.R.S. § 13-3602(A)
Can I get an order of protection against a minor?
Maybe, but there are special considerations involved.
Where the abuser is a minor (under 18), you need to petition the court naming the minor as the defendant. You cannot name the minor’s parent, guardian or the person who has legal custody as the defendant.
Additionally, when the abuser is under the age of 16, you must serve the appropriate court paperwork, to the abuser and his/her parent, guardian or the person who has legal custody of the abuser. For more information on serving a defendant/abuser, see Steps for getting an order of protection.
Only the juvenile division of the superior court may issue a protective order against a defendant who is under the age of 12.1
1 A.R.S. § 13-3602(B)(2)
Can I get an order of protection if I'm a minor?
Yes. In some cases you can file on your own; in other cases, you may need a parent, guardian, or person who has legal custody of you to help.
You can file on your own if your parent, guardian, or person who has legal custody of you:
- is the person you’re trying to get an order of protection against; or
- is not available.
Otherwise, your parent, guardian, or person who has legal custody will need to file on your behalf.
If your parent or custodian files on your behalf, keep these things in mind:
- Your parent or custodian will name themselves as the “plaintiff” and you as a specifically designated person entitled to protection; and
- It is your relationship with the abuser that must meet the “relationship requirement,” not your parent’s or guardian’s relationship with the abuser.1 See Who can get an order of protection? for information on the “relationship requirements.”
1 A.R.S § 13-3602(A)
Can I get an order of protection against a same-sex partner?
In Arizona, you may apply for an order of protection against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who can get an order of protection? 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 Arizona?
You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.
Is it possible to get another type of order if I am not eligible for an order of protection?
Even if you do not qualify for any one of these orders, the abuser’s behavior may still be against the law. If you are in danger, you have the option of calling the police. For more information on stalking in general, you can look at our Stalking/Cyberstalking page. To read the definitions of common crimes in Arizona, go to our AZ Crimes page.
Whether you call the police or not, there are still other things you can do to stay safe. You may want to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They can help you develop a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. For safety planning help, ideas, and information, go to our Safety Tips page. You will find a list of Arizona resources by clicking on the Places that Help tab at the top of this page.
Steps for getting an order of protection
Step 1: Go to court to fill out the necessary forms.
To figure out what court to go to, see In which county can I file for an order of protection? You can get a petition during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. To find the courthouse nearest to you, go to our AZ Courthouse Locations page. Note: If you need protection and the courts are closed, or you need protection before getting to a court, call the police. A police officer may be able to help you get an emergency order of protection if you are in immediate danger.
The clerk will provide you with the forms that you need to file. On the “Petition for Order of Protection,” you will be the “plaintiff” and the abuser will be the “defendant.”
You may want to write about the most recent incidents of violence, using descriptive words like “slapping,” “hitting,” “grabbing,” “threatening,” “choking,” etc. - that fits your situation. Include details and dates, if possible. Be specific. Here are some other things you may want to consider including:
- why you need protection. Your explanation may include specific acts that have occurred within the past year. If there are events that happened more than a year ago, you can include those but the judge does not have to consider those unless “good cause” is shown.1 Also, if the abuser was out of state or in jail, that could lengthen the period of time that the judge will consider domestic violence incidents;2
- a description of the abuse, threats and/or injuries you received from the abuser, and when they happened; and/or
- if the abuser has access to or possession of any firearms or weapons.
You may also have to provide an accurate physical description of the abuser and an address where s/he can be found so the order can be served.
You can keep your home, work and other addresses confidential if the abuser does not know them.3 However, you do have to give a mailing address so that the court can contact you if there are future hearings. Make sure to tell the clerk of court if you would like to keep your address confidential.
You can find links to forms online on the AZ Download Court Forms page or you can get them from the court clerk. You may also be able to get these forms by calling a local domestic violence organization or legal aid office. Most domestic violence prevention organizations can provide support for you while you fill out these papers. Go to the AZ Places that Help tab at the top of this page to find an organization in your area.
Note: Do not sign the petition until you have shown it to a clerk because the form may need to be notarized or signed in the presence of court personnel.
1 A.R.S. § 13-3602(E)(2)
2 A.R.S. § 13-3602(F)
3 A.R.S. § 13-3602(C)
Step 2: The "ex parte" hearing
Once the clerk has your petition, a judicial officer will review it and hear your sworn testimony and any other important evidence. This hearing will be “ex parte” which means that the abuser will not be in court with you.
At this hearing, one of two things could happen:
- the judge can decide to issue a “permanent” order of protection, which lasts for one year from the day it is served (and it has to be served within one year of the date it was issued); or
- the judge could decide that more evidence is needed before issuing a “permanent” order and s/he may order a hearing within 10 days, which the abuser has the right to attend.1
1 A.R.S. § 13-3602(F)
Step 3: Service of process
The abuser must be served (given) papers that tell him/her about the order of protection. The order is not enforceable until the abuser is served and the order must be served within one year of the date it was issued.After granting an order of protection, the court shall provide the order to a law enforcement agency or a constable to arrange for service. The agency or entity serving the order is supposed to provide confirmation of service to you as soon as they can. If they cannot serve the order within fifteen days after receiving it, the agency or entity that is attempting service is supposed to notify you of this fact and continue to attempt service.1
You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?
1 A.R.S. § 13-3602(I), (N)
Step 4: The abuser may request a hearing.
As soon as the defendant (the abuser) is served with the order, it is valid/enforcable.1 However, the abuser has the right to go to court and tell his/her side of the story. S/he can do so by requesting in writing a hearing to contest the order at any time during the year that the order is valid.2 You will not have a “hearing to contest” unless the abuser requests one. If s/he requests a hearing, the court will notify you as long as the court has current contact information for you. You must go to this hearing. If you do not show up in court, then the judge is likely to dismiss (drop) your order of protection (also known as “quashing” your order).
At the hearing, you and the defendant will both appear before a judicial officer. You will each have a chance to present evidence, witnesses and testimony to prove your case. Go to our Preparing Your Case page for more information on how to prepare yourself for court.
It is generally best to bring a lawyer to represent you at the hearing. Go to our AZ Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals. If you show up to court and the abuser has a lawyer and you do not, you may ask the judicial officer for a continuance to set a later court date so you can have time to find a lawyer for yourself (although please keep in mind that the judicial officer may not grant your request).
1 A.R.S. § 13-3602(K)
2 A.R.S. § 13-3602(I)
After the hearing
Can the abuser have a gun?
Once you get an order of protection or injunction, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession. There are a few places where you can find this information:
- first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Arizona have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
- second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
- third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.
You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website.
What should I do after receiving an order?
Here are some things you may want to consider doing. However, you will have to evaluate each one to see if it works for your situation.
- Make several copies of the order of protection as soon as possible.
- Keep a copy of the order of protection with you at all times.
- Leave copies of the order of protection at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
- Give a copy of the order along with a picture of the defendant to security or the person at the front desk where you live and/or work.
- Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
- Take steps to safety plan, including changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.
If you feel that your employer or coworkers also need protection, you may want to speak to your employer about filing for an injunction against workplace harassment if you think that revealing your situation to your employer will not negatively affect your employment. See Injunction Against Workplace Harassment for more information.
Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order. People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many batterers obey protective orders, but some do not. It is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Click on the following link for suggestions on Staying Safe. Advocates at local resource centers can also assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support as well.
What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
You may want to call the police, even if you think it is a minor violation. It is generally a crime if the abuser knowingly violates the order in any way. A judge can punish someone for being in contempt of court. In some cases, the police can arrest the abuser immediately if s/he is still present when the police arrive.
If you do call the police, 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.
Can I extend my order of protection?
Arizona law does not specifically state that a person can extend his/her order. However, often times, if a petitioner applies for a new order before the current order expires, a judge may grant the new order if there is continued fear of the respondent, for example, even if no new incidents have occurred since the current order was issued.
What happens if I move? Is my order still effective?
Your order of protection is good wherever you go in Arizona. It can also be enforced even if you move to another state. If you move, your order must be given full faith and credit in any other state, territorial or tribal court,1 which means that your order will be enforceable wherever you go.
For more information about moving with an Arizona order of protection, go to Moving to Another State with an Order of Protection.
Note: For information on enforcing a military protection order (MPO) off the military installation or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265
Injunctions Against Harassment
If you are not eligible for a domestic violence order of protection, you may qualify for an injunction against harassment (IAH). This is a court order that protects you from someone who harassed you or committed sexual violence against. You must not be related to, married to, intimately involved with, or live/d with the abuser. (For those relationships, you would have to apply for a domestic violence order of protection.)
What is an injunction against harassment?
An injunction against harassment (IAH) is a civil order that can be issued against someone who is harassing or abusing you (i.e., neighbors, friends, landlords, etc.) except it cannot be issued against someone who you are/were related to, married to, intimately involved with, or lived with. For those types of relationships, which are listed in full here, you would have to apply for a domestic violence order of protection if you are being harassed. See our AZ Domestic Violence Orders of Protection page for more information.
You may file for an IAH if you can show that the defendant has committed harassment as defined by law, including any evidence of harassment by electronic contact or communication.1
1 A.R.S. § 12-1809
What is the legal definition of harassment?
To get an injunction against harassment, you must show that the defendant has “harassed” you. For the purpose of an IAH, the law defines “harassment” as:
- two or more acts over any period of time that:
- is directed at a specific person;
- serves no legitimate purpose; and
- reasonably causes the victim to be seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed;1 or
- one or more acts of sexual violence, which the law defines as committing one of the following acts even if there was no arrest or criminal prosecution:
- indecent exposure;
- public sexual indecency;
- sexual abuse;
- sexual conduct with a minor;
- sexual assault;
- unlawful sexual conduct by:
- molestation of a child;
- continuous sexual abuse of a child;
- violent sexual assault;
- unlawful disclosure of images depicting states of nudity or specific sexual activities;
- sexual extortion;
- kidnapping but only if there is the intention to inflict death, physical injury, or a sexual offense on the victim, or to otherwise aid in the commission of a felony;
- sex trafficking;
- surreptitious photographing, videotaping, filming or digitally recording or viewing;
- taking child for the purpose of prostitution;
- commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, luring a minor for sexual exploitation, or aggravated luring a minor for sexual exploitation.2
Harassment may also include defamation against an employer, unlawful picketing, trespassory assembly, unlawful mass assembly, concerted interference with lawful business activity, and taking part in a secondary boycott.1
1 A.R.S. § 12-1809(S)
2 A.R.S. §§ 12-1809(S); 23-371(J)
Can I get an injunction against harassment if I am a minor?
Yes, however if you are a minor (under 18), you need your parent, legal guardian or the person who has legal custody of you to file for an injunction against harassment on your behalf. S/he will name themselves him/herself as the “plaintiff” and you as the person entitled to protection.1
1 A.R.S. § 12-1809(A)
How do I get an injunction against harassment?
The steps for getting an injunction against harassment are similar to the steps for getting an order of protection. However, instead of proving domestic violence, you have to prove that the defendant harassed you. You need to be specific about how and when the defendant has harassed you.
You can get an ex parte injunction against harassment without giving prior notice to the defendant and without a hearing if you meet the following two requirements:
- either of the following is true:
- the judge believes there is reasonable evidence of harassment during the year leading up to the filing of the petition (Note: Any time that the defendant has been incarcerated or out of this state shall not be counted); or
- good cause exists to believe that great or permanent harm would result if the injunction is not granted at that time (before the defendant or the defendant’s attorney can be heard in opposition); and
- you must show the court that:
- you tried to give notice to the defendant about the injunction; or
- you have specific reasons as to why notice should not be given.1
If you get an ex parte injunction, the defendant is entitled to a hearing where he can oppose the injunction. He must request it in writing and you will be notified of the hearing date.2
If you do not meet all of the three requirements above, you can get an injunction against harassment only after giving notice to the defendant and after a hearing. Then the court can schedule a hearing within ten days with reasonable notice to the defendant.1 After you and the defendant present evidence, the judge will decide if you will get the injunction.
When filing for the injunction, you must tell the court if there are or were any other court proceedings regarding the defendant’s harassment towards you or any other injunctions in effect.3
1 A.R.S § 12-1809(E)
2 A.R.S § 12-1809(H)
3 A.R.S § 12-1809(B)
What protections can I get in an injunction against harassment?
In an IAH, a judge may order that the abuser:
- stop harassing you;.
- stop contacting you or other people listed in your petition (this includes telephone calls, letters, messages through someone else, personal contact);
- stay away from the home, place of employment or school of you or anyone named in the petition; and
- the judge can order any other relief necessary for the protection of the you or anyone named in your petition.1
If the abuser violates any of these terms, it may be a crime and may result in the abuser’s arrest.2
1 A.R.S. § 12-1809(F)
2 A.R.S. § 12-1809(I)
How long does an injunction against harassment last?
An IAH lasts for one year from the date the abuser is served with a copy of the injunction. If there are changes made to the injunction during the year that it is in effect, the changes become effective from the date the abuser is served with the new (changed) injunction. However, the changed injunction expires one year from the date the original injunction was served, not from the date the changed injunction was served.1
For further information on hearings, how to have the defendant served, and what to do after you get the injunction, please see our section on Domestic Violence Orders of Protection.
1 A.R.S. § 12-1809(J)
The court process
To get an injunction against harassment, will I have to face the abuser in court?
It is possible for a judge to give you an IAH without the abuser (defendant) being present in court. However, for the judge to issue an injunction against harassment without the defendant present, the judge must find:
- sufficient evidence that the defendant harassed you within the year before filing for the injunction; or
- that great or irreparable (permanent) harm will result if the injunction is not issued immediately (before the defendant has been given the chance to be heard in court) as well as one of the following:
- that you attempted to notify the defendant that you were seeking an injunction against him/her; or
- reasons why the defendant should not be notified before issuing the injunction against him/her.1
If the judge decides not to grant the injunction immediately, a hearing may be set within ten days and the defendant will have a chance to be heard before an injunction against harassment may be issued.1
1 A.R.S. § 12-1809(E)
Will the police serve the injunction against harassment on the abuser?
A police officer or correctional officer may serve the injunction but are not required to.1 Talk to the court clerk about who else can serve the injunction on the abuser.
1 A.R.S. § 12-1809(R)
Is there a fee to file or serve an injunction against harassment?
There is no fee when you file for an injunction but there could be a fee for serving the injunction on the defendant. However, there is no fee for service of the petition if the petition alleges that there was a dating relationship or sexual violence.1 The cost for service varies depending on the mileage involved and the number of attempts needed to attempt service. Some people may be able to get the service fee deferred or waived by the court. If you are a low-income person, be sure to tell this to the court and ask how to apply to get the fee waived.2
1 A.R.S. § 12-1809(D)
2Plaintiff’s Guide Sheet for Protection Orders (2013)
What happens if the abuser violates the injunction?
Violation of an IAH is a crime, and you can call the police if the abuser violates your IAH. S/he can be arrested for violating the order as well as for any crime s/he commits during that violation.1
1 A.R.S. § 12-1809(I)
Injunctions Against Workplace Harassment
If you are being harassed at work, your employer can file for an injunction against workplace harassment (IAWH) to keep the abuser away from your workplace
What is an injunction against workplace harassment?
If you are being harassed (at work), your employer can file for an injunction against workplace harassment (IAWH) on his/her own behalf. An IAWH is a civil court order that prohibits the offender from having contact with the employer or employees, or from coming near the employer’s property or place of business, which could protect you from harassment while you are at work. In cases of domestic violence, the IAWH enables your employer to get his/her own injunction against the abuser.1
1 A.R.S. § 12-1810
How do I get an injunction against workplace harassment?
Your employer, or someone authorized by your employer, has to file for an IAWH. Unless you are your employer’s authorized agent, you cannot petition for an IAWH on your own behalf.1 To get an IAWH, your employer must show that you have been the victim of harassment and must make a “good faith” effort to tell you that s/he is seeking an IAWH.2 However, even if you know your employer’s intentions, you may not have any say in whether or not your employer files for an injunction.
For the purposes of an IAWH, harassment is defined as either a single threat/act of physical harm/damage or a series of acts over a period of time that would cause a person serious alarm or annoyance. This includes defamation against an employer, unlawful picketing, trespassory assembly, unlawful mass assembly, concerted interference with lawful exercise of business activity, taking part in a secondary boycott.3
Your employer may file for an IAWH whether or not you have a protective order of your own, such as an order of protection or injunction against harassment.
To file for an IAWH, your employer can go to a justice court, municipal court or superior court in the area. Your employer will then have a hearing with a judicial officer, where the harasser will not be present (called an “ex parte hearing”). A judicial officer can issue an IAWH at this ex parte hearing if s/he finds:
- sufficient evidence of workplace harassment; or
- that great irreparable harm will result to the employer, employees or any person entering the employer’s property; or
- that the employer attempted to notify the defendant that s/he was seeking an injunction against him/her or that the employer presented reasons why the defendant should not be notified before issuing the injunction against him/her.
If the judge does not grant the injunction immediately, another hearing may be set and the defendant will have a chance to be heard before an injunction against workplace harassment may be issued.4
1 A.R.S. § 12-1810(A)
2 A.R.S. § 12-1810(M)
3 A.R.S. § 12-1810(S)(2)
4 A.R.S. § 12-1810(E)
What protections can I get in an injunction against workplace harassment?
An IAWH can:
- Forbid the defendant from coming near the employer’s property or place of business.
- Forbid the defendant from contacting you or the employer or other person while you are at the employer’s property/ place of business or while you are performing official work duties.
- Grant any other relief necessary for the protection of the employer, the workplace, the employees (including you ) or any other person who is on or at the employer’s property or place of business, or any person who is performing official work duties.1
1 A.R.S. § 12-1810(F)
How long does an injunction against workplace harassment last?
An IAWH generally lasts for one year from the date the abuser is served, or receives a copy of the order.1 During that year, the abuser may ask the court for a hearing to try to change the order or get it canceled.2 Your employer may also ask the court to modify (change) the order or dismiss it.3
1 A.R.S. § 12-1810(I)
2 A.R.S. § 12-1810(G)
3AZCADV, A Lay Legal Advocates’ Guide to Arizona Law (2014)
Who can report a violation of an injunction against workplace harassment - me or my employer?
Either you or your employer can call the police if your abuser violates an IAWH. Violation of an IAWH is a crime and the abuser may also be held in “contempt of court” for violating the judge’s order.1
1 A.R.S. § 12-1810(H)
How is an injunction against workplace harassment different from other types of protective orders?
There are several ways in which an IAWH is different than other types of protective orders.
The plaintiff, or person who asks the court for an order, is the employer or an authorized agent of the employer. It is the employer who is petitioning the court for protection for the victim, fellow employees, and the employer’s property, without the victim having to take action.
If you are a survivor of domestic violence or harassment, you may also benefit from the fact that the employer is the plaintiff in an IAWH. Your abuser may be less likely to retaliate against you, since you are not involved in obtaining the injunction.
However, the fact that the victim’s cooperation is not necessary can also be harmful to you, since the employer may get an IAWH without your knowledge, and perhaps against your wishes. The law says that if the employer knows that you are the target of the harassment, the employer must make a “good faith” attempt to notify you that the employer intends to petition for an IAWH. However this does not mean that you will always be notified, or that you have to agree with the idea, before an employer may obtain an IAWH.
Unlike other orders, there can be fees to file and serve an IAWH. The filing fee is approximately $230 but it can be waived if you are low-income.1 The service fee could depend on who serves the order and how far s/he has to travel to serve it.
Moving to Another State with an Order of Protection
If you are going to be out of Arizona, your order of protection can be enforced throughout the United States.
Can I get my order of protection from Arizona enforced in another state?
Yes. If you have a valid Arizona order of protection that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state. The Violence Against Women Act, which is a federal law, states that all valid orders of protection granted in the United States receive “full faith and credit” in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories.1 See How do I know if my order of protection is good under federal law? to find out if your order of protection qualifies.
Each state must enforce out-of-state orders of protection in the same way it enforces its own orders. Meaning, if the abuser violates your out-of-state order of protection, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated. This is what is meant by “full faith and credit.”1
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265; see also A.R.S. § 13-3602(R)
How do I know if my order of protection is good under federal law?
An order of protection is good anywhere in the United States as long as:
- It was issued to prevent violent, or threatening acts, or sexual violence against another person, or it is issued to forbid contact or communication with another person or it is issued to order the abuser to stay away from another person.1
- The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case- (in other words, the court had the authority to hear the case).
- The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
- In the case of ex parte (orders issued with only one party present) and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled within a “reasonable time” after the order is issued.2
Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(5)(A), See also A.R.S. § 13-3602(R)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a)-(b)
Getting your Arizona order of protection enforced in another state
How do I get my order of protection enforced in another state?
Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your order of protection enforced in another state.
Many states do have laws or regulations (rules) about registering or filing of out-of-state orders, which can make enforcement easier, but a valid order of protection is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.1 Rules differ from state to state, so it may be helpful to find out what the rules are in your new state. You can contact a local domestic violence organization for more information by visiting our Advocates and Shelters page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)
Do I need anything special to get my order of protection enforced in another state?
In some states, you will need a certified copy of your order of protection. A certified copy says that it is a “true and correct” copy; it is signed and initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it. In Arizona, a certified order has a stamp or seal on it and is signed by the commissioner. The copy you originally received in court should have been a certified copy. If your copy is not a certified copy, call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk’s office for a certified copy.
Note: It is a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You will also want to bring several copies of the order with you when you move. Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on. Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work. Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
Can I get someone to help me? Do I need a lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer to get your protection order enforced in another state. However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or attorney in the state to which you have moved. A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your protection order and help you through the process if you decide to do so.
To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state to which you are moving, please click on the Places that Help tab on the top of this page and then choose the state where you are going.
I have an emergency order of protection. Can it be enforced in another state?
Yes. An ex parte emergency order of protection can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my order of protection is good under federal law?1
Note: The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte temporary order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court). However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b)(2); A.R.S. § 13-3602(R)
Do I need to tell the court in Arizona if I move?
It is up to you whether you tell the court that gave you your order of protection that you are moving. If you want them to have a current mailing address for you on file, you will have to go through a modification procedure. A “modification procedure” means that you will have to file a new petition and appear before the commissioner again. The abuser will be given notice, and therefore s/he will know that you are moving.
Enforcing temporary custody provisions in another state
I was granted temporary custody with my order of protection. Can I take my kids out of the state?
Maybe. It will depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your order of protection. You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving. If your abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.
To read more about custody laws in Arizona, go to our Custody page.
If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children. You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in Arizona under the Places that Help tab at the top of this page.
I was granted temporary custody with my order of protection. Will another state enforce this custody order?
Yes. Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in an order of protection can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.1
1 18 USC § 2266
Enforcing an Out-of-State Order in Arizona
If you are planning to move to Arizona or are going to be in Arizona for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.
General rules for out-of-state orders in Arizona
Can I get my order of protection enforced in Arizona? What are the requirements?
Yes. Your order of protection can be enforced in Arizona as long as:
- It was issued to prevent violent, or threatening acts, harassment, or sexual violence against another person, or it was issued to forbid contact or communication with another person or it was issued to order the abuser to stay away from another person.1
- The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case - (in other words, the court had the authority or power to hear the case.)
- The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to present his/her side of the story in court.
- In the case of ex parte and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and
have an opportunity to go to court to present his/her side of the story at a hearing
that is scheduled within a “reasonable time” after the order is issued.2
- In the case of ex parte and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and
Make sure that your copy is a certified copy.
Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.
1 18 USC § 2266(5)(A)
2 18 USC § 2265(a)&(b)
Can I have my out-of-state protection order changed, extended, or canceled in Arizona?
No. Only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order. You cannot have this done by a court in Arizona.
To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued. You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where your abuser is living. To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the Restraining Orders pages for the state where your order was issued.
If your order does expire while you are living in Arizona, you may be able to get a new one issued in Arizona but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Arizona. To find out more information on how to get a protective order in Arizona, visit our AZ Domestic Violence Orders of Protection page.
I was granted temporary custody with my protection order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in AZ?
Yes. As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,1 Arizona can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.
To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets this legal standard, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer in your area, click here AZ Finding a Lawyer.
1 The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.
Registering your Out-of-State Order in Arizona
If I don’t have a hard copy of my out-of-state order, how can law enforcement enforce it?
To enforce an out-of-state order, law enforcement typically may rely on the National Crime Information Center Protection Order File (NCIC-POF). The NCIC-POF is a nationwide, electronic database that contains information about orders of protection that were issued in each state and territory in the U.S. The Protection Order File (POF) contains court orders that are issued to prevent acts of domestic violence, or to prevent someone from stalking, intimidating, or harassing another person. It contains orders issued by both civil and criminal state courts. The types of protection orders issued and the information contained in them vary from state to state.1
There is no way for the general public to access the NCIC-POF. That means you cannot confirm a protection order is in the registry or add a protection order to the registry without the help of a government agency that has access to it.
Typically, the state police or criminal justice agency in the state has the responsibility of reporting protection orders to NCIC. However, in some cases, the courts have taken on that role and they manage the protection order reporting process.2 NCIC–POF is used by law enforcement agencies when they need to verify and enforce an out-of-state protection order. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.
However, not all states routinely enter protection orders into the NCIC. Instead, some states may enter the orders only in their own state protection order registry, which would not be accessible to law enforcement in other states. According to a 2016 report by the National Center for State Courts, more than 700,000 protection orders that were registered in state protection order databases were not registered in the federal NCIC Protection Order File.2 This means that if a law enforcement officer is trying to enforce a protection order from another state that is missing from the NCIC, the victim would likely need to show the officer a hard copy of the order to get it immediately enforced. If you no longer have a copy of your original order, you may want to contact the court that issued the order to ask them how you can get another copy sent to you.
1 National Center for Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit
2 See State Progress in Record Reporting for Firearm-Related Background Checks: Protection Order Submissions, prepared by the National Center for State Courts, April 2016
Do I have to register my protection order in AZ in order to get it enforced?
No. According to federal law,1 all states, including AZ, must enforce an out-of-state protection order. Arizona gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order2 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.3 The order does not have to be registered or entered into the federal registry in order to be enforced by an AZ police officer, but the officer does need to believe that it is a valid (real) order.2
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265
2 A.R.S. § 13-3602(R)
3 A R.S. § 13-3602(L)
Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?
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 AZ 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 because neither federal law1 nor state law2 requires that you register your protection order in order to get it enforced. Arizona state law also requires law enforcement officials to assume your order is real as long as you can show them a copy and tell them honestly that you think it is still in effect.3
However, if your order is not registered, then it will not be on file with the sheriff’s office, and it won’t be entered into the NCIC (although it might have been entered by the court that gave it to you). Therefore, it may be more difficult for an Arizona law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real.
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 Arizona. To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in Arizona, go to our AZ Advocates and Shelters page under the Places that Help tab at the top of this page.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265
2 A.R.S. § 13-3602(L)
3A.R.S. § 13-3602(R)(4)
Does it cost anything to register my protection order?
No. There is no fee for registering your protection order in Arizona, but you do need to go through a new hearing, so there might be costs associated with that hearing.