What is a protection order against malicious harassment, stalking, and telephone harassment (harassment protection order)?
A protection order against malicious harassment, stalking, and telephone harassment (harassment protection order) is a civil court order that offers protection to victims of harassment and stalking (and/or their children) regardless of whether you have a specific relationship with the abuser.1 The petition must be filed within 90 days of when the stalking or harassment took place.2
1 I.C. § 18-7907(1),(2)
2 I.C. § 18-7907(4)
What is the legal definition of stalking in Idaho?
Stalking is when an abuser intentionally and maliciously engages in a “course of conduct” that:
- seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses you (and would cause a “reasonable person” to feel substantial emotional distress); or
- would cause a “reasonable person” to be in fear of his/her own death or physical injury or in fear of a family or household member’s death or physical injury.1
A “course of conduct” means that the abuser has repeatedly made “nonconsensual contact” with you or your family or household members.2 In other words, the contact began or continued without your consent, went beyond the scope of any contact that you did consent to, or it happened even though you specifically asked that s/he not contact you or stop contacting you (if at first you were OK with it). Some examples of “nonconsensual contact” include, but are not limited to:
- following you or maintaining surveillance (electronic or otherwise) on you;
- contacting you in a public place or on private property;
- appearing at your home or workplace;
- entering onto or remaining on property owned, leased, or occupied by you;
- contacting you by telephone or causing your telephone to ring repeatedly or continuously regardless of whether s/he says anything over the phone;
- sending you mail, email, or other electronic communications; or
- placing an object on or delivering an object to property owned, leased, or occupied by you.3
1 I.C. §§ 18-7905(1); 18-7906(1)
2 I.C. § 18-7906(2)(a)
3 I.C. § 18-7906(2)(c)
What is the legal definition of telephone harassment in Idaho?
For the purposes of getting a protection order, telephone harassment is defined as using the telephone to communicate a threat to inflict injury or physical harm to you or any member of your family with the intent to terrify, threaten, or intimidate you.1 Note: This definition is different than the criminal definition of use of telephone to annoy, terrify, threaten, intimidate, harass or offend.2
1 I.C. § 18–7907(1)(b)
2 See I.C. § 18-6710
What is the legal definition of malicious harassment in Idaho?
For the purposes of getting a protection order, malicious harassment is when, with intent to intimidate or harass you because of your race, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin, an abuser:
- causes or threatens to cause you physical injury; or
- causes or threatens to cause damage to your property, home, or land.1
1 I.C. § 18-7907(1)(c)
What kinds of protection orders against malicious harassment, stalking, and telephone harassment are there? How long do they last?
There are two types of harassment protection orders: an ex parte temporary order and a final protection order.
Ex parte temporary orders: A judge can grant this type of order without the abuser having notice of the case beforehand if the judge believes that:
- harm could result if an order is not immediately issued without prior notice to the respondent; and
- the respondent has intentionally committed stalking, malicious harassment, or telephone harassment.1
An ex parte temporary order will last up to 14 days, and your hearing for a final order will be scheduled to take place within those 14 days. The ex parte order can also be reissued if the judge decides there is good cause to do so. If the abuser wants the judge to shorten the time period before the order expires, s/he must file a motion with the judge and you must be served with that motion two days before any hearing on the motion.2
Final protection orders: A final protection order can be issued for up to one year only after a court hearing in which you and the harasser both have a chance to present evidence, testimony, and witnesses but it can be renewed for good cause.3 To grant you the final order, the judge must believe that you were the victim of malicious harassment, stalking, or telephone harassment within the 90 days before you filed your petition and it is likely that such behavior would happen in the future.4
1 I.C. § 18-7908(1)
2 I.C. § 18-7908(4)
3 I.C. § 18-7907(7)
4 I.C. § 18-7907(4)
What protections can I get in a protection order against malicious harassment, stalking, and telephone harassment?
Through both an ex parte temporary order and a final order, the judge can require:
- the abuser not to harass or stalk you;
- the abuser not to contact you or any protected person in your order; and
- anything else the judge thinks is necessary, which can include an order that the abuser not come within a certain distance (up to 1,500 feet) of you or a protected person in your order.1
1 I.C. §§ 18-7907(4); 18-7908(2)
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.