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)