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Legal Information: Idaho

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of November 7, 2023

What is a protection order against malicious harassment, stalking, and telephone harassment (protection order against stalking and/or threats)?

A protection order against malicious harassment, stalking, and telephone harassment is a civil court order that offers protection to victims of harassment and stalking and their children. It is also called a “protection order against stalking and/or threats” for short.

Victims of harassment and stalking can file for this kind of order regardless of their specific relationship with the abuser.1 The petition asking for a harassment protection order must be filed within 90 days of when the stalking or harassment happened.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 fear that s/he or his/her family or household member will be killed or physically injured.1

A “course of conduct” means that the abuser repeatedly made unwanted (“nonconsensual”) contact with you or your family or household members.2 In other words, the abuser’s contact with you or your family or household members:

  • began or continued without your consent;
  • went beyond the scope of any contact that you agreed to; or
  • happened even though you specifically asked the abuser to not contact you or to stop contacting you. 3

Some examples of “nonconsensual contact” include, but are not limited to:

  • following you or keeping surveillance on you, electronic or otherwise;
  • contacting you in a public place or on private property;
  • showing up at your home or workplace;
  • entering onto or staying on property that you own, lease, or occupy;
  • contacting you by telephone;
  • causing your telephone to ring repeatedly or continuously whether or not 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 that you own, lease, or occupy.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 purpose of getting a protection order, telephone harassment means that the abuser:

  • used the telephone to communicate a threat to injure or physically harm you or any member of your family; and
  • contacted you with the intent to terrify, threaten, or intimidate you.

Note: This definition is different from 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 purpose 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 stalking and/or threats are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of protection orders against stalking and/or threats:

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

Ex parte temporary orders

The judge can give you an ex parte temporary order if the judge believes that:

  1. harm could result unless you get an order immediately without prior notice to the abuser; and
  2. the abuser intentionally committed stalking, malicious harassment, or telephone harassment against you.1

Ex parte means the abuser is not there and does not know about the order in advance. If you get an ex parte temporary order, it will last up to 14 days. Your hearing for a final order will be scheduled to take place within those 14 days. The judge can reissue your ex parte order if there is a good reason (“good cause”) to do so - for example, if the abuser cannot be served with the ex parte order before the next court date. If the abuser wants the judge to shorten the time before your order expires, s/he must file a motion. You must be served with that motion two days before a hearing on the motion.2

Final protection orders

The judge can give a final protection order after a court hearing. At the hearing, you and the abuser are both allowed to present evidence, testimony, and witnesses. To grant you the final order, the judge must believe that:

  1. you were the victim of malicious harassment, stalking, or telephone harassment within the 90 days before you filed your petition; and
  2. the abuser would likely do these things to you again in the future.3

A final protection order can be issued for up to one year. It can be renewed for good cause.4 See How do I renew, change, or dismiss a protection order against stalking and/or threats?

1 I.C. § 18-7908(1)
I.C. § 18-7908(4)
3 I.C. § 18-7907(4)
4 I.C. § 18-7907(7)

What protections can I get in a protection order against stalking and/or threats?

In both an ex parte temporary order and a final order, the judge can order:

  • the abuser to not harass or stalk you;
  • the abuser to not contact you or another protected person named in your order; and
  • anything else the judge thinks is necessary, which can include an order that the abuser must stay a distance of up to 1,500 feet away from you or another 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 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.