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 At the Hearing 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)