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Legal Information: Idaho

Idaho Restraining Orders

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November 7, 2023

What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Idaho?

This section defines domestic violence for the purpose of getting an order of protection. In Idaho, domestic violence occurs when a family or household member or someone you have dated does any of the following to you:

  • causes a physical injury;
  • commits sexual abuse;
  • commits forced imprisonment; or
  • threatens to commit any of the above acts.1

1 I.C. § 39-6303(1), (3), (6)

What types of protection orders are there? How long do they last?

In Idaho, there are two types of protection orders for domestic violence victims:

  1. temporary ex parte orders; and
  2. final protection orders.

The judge can give you a temporary ex parte order on the day you file your petition or on the next day. Ex parte means the abuser is not there and does not know about the order in advance. The judge must believe that you need this order immediately to prevent serious or permanent (irreparable) injury from domestic violence. For example, the judge might consider if the abuser recently threatened to physically hurt you or was violent towards you. A temporary order will usually last for up to 14 days or until your hearing for a final order. However, the abuser can ask to have the hearing sooner if the temporary order “substantially affects” the abuser’s rights to be in the home or to have custody or visitation.1

The judge can give you a final protection order after a court hearing. At the hearing, you and the abuser are both allowed to present evidence. To grant you an order, the judge must believe that there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence. A final order will last for up to one year but can be extended.2 For more information, see How do I change or extend the protection order?

1 I.C. § 39-6308(1), (3), (4), (5)
I.C. § 39-6306(1), (5)

What protections can I get in a protection order?

temporary ex parte protection order can do any of the following:

  • order the abuser to not commit acts of domestic violence;
  • remove the abuser from a home s/he shares with you or from your home;
  • order the abuser to not interfere with your custody of the children and not take your children out of the state;
  • order the abuser to not contact, bother, interfere with, or threaten minor children in your custody - and keep the abuser away from a specific home or location to accomplish this;
  • allow the abuser to take his/her clothing, toiletries, and any other items specifically ordered by the court but nothing else; and
  • order anything the judge believes is necessary to protect you and your family or household members- this could include orders or directives to a peace officer.1

final protection order can include:

  • all of the protections listed above; and
  • any of the following additional orders:
    • give you temporary custody of your children for up to three months if you can show that there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence to you;
    • order the abuser to stay at least 1,500 feet, or another appropriate distance, away from you, your home, your school, your workplace, or any specific place where you, your children, or another family or household member frequently go;
    • order the abuser to get counseling or treatment;
    • order the abuser to pay your attorney’s fees and costs;2 and
    • order your wireless telephone service provider to transfer over to you any wireless phone numbers that you and your children use and the billing responsibility, when the abuser is the current account holder. Note: The judge would do this in a separate order directed to the wireless telephone service provider but you can ask for it when you file your protection order petition.3

1 I.C § 39-6308(1)
2 I.C. § 39-6306(1)
3 I.C. § 39-6318(1), (2)(a)

In which county can I file for an order of protection?

You can file for a protection order in the district court in the county where:

  • the abuser lives;
  • you live permanently; or
  • you live temporarily to escape the abuse.1

However, if you left the home and want to keep the new address where you are staying confidential, filing in that county is risky. It could alert the abuser to the fact that you are living in that county. When you file for a protective order, the court papers have to be served to the abuser. These court papers have the state and county written on them, even if you ask to keep your address confidential.

1 I.C. § 39-6304(2), (6)

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 in your state may not have legal power (personal jurisdiction) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the judge may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

However, there are a few ways that a judge can get personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, to see extended family, or for business, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. 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 but s/he has since left the state.
  3. 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.

Even if none of the above apply to your situation, you may still be able to get an order. If you file, the abuser may agree to an order “on consent” or the judge may decide there are other reasons to grant the order.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to give you an order, you can file in the courthouse in the abuser’s state. However, you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates. This could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.

How much does it cost to get a protection order?

There is no cost to file for a protection order or to have it served on the abuser.1

1 I.C. § 39-6305

Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to file for a protection order. However, it can help to have one to make sure that your rights are protected. This is especially true if the abuser has a lawyer. If you go to the hearing and the abuser has a lawyer, you can ask the judge for a “continuance.” This means postponing the case so you can get a lawyer, too. Also, if the judge believes that you and the abuser both need lawyers, the judge can order both of you to hire (retain) lawyers. The judge can also order you, the abuser, or both of you to pay the attorneys’ fees.1 If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can try to get one through a local legal services organization if you qualify. Go to Idaho Finding a Lawyer for legal referrals.

If you are representing yourself, the domestic violence organizations in your area or staff at the courthouse may be able to answer some questions or help you fill out court forms.

If you will be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section can help you get ready.

1 I.C. § 39-6306(1)