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Legal Information: Idaho

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
October 10, 2019

What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Idaho?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes 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: temporary (ex parte) orders and (final) protection orders.

A temporary ex parte order can be issued on the day that you file your petition (or on the next day) if the judge believes that serious or permanent (irreparable) injury could result from domestic violence if an order is not issued immediately without prior notice to the abuser. For example, the judge will consider if the abuser has recently threatened you with bodily injury or has committed an act of domestic violence against you. In general, a temporary order lasts for up to 14 days, or until you have a court hearing for a permanent order. If the ex parte order substantially affects the abuser’s rights to enter the home or his/her right to custody or visitation, the abuser can ask the court to hold the hearing sooner than 14 days.1

A final protection order can be issued if, after a court hearing in which you and the abuser are both given the opportunity to present evidence, the judge finds that there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence. The order lasts 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)
2 I.C. § 39-6306(1), (5)

What protections can I get in a protection order?

A 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/or not remove your children from the state;
  • order the abuser to not contact, bother, interfere with, or threaten minor children in your custody - and keep the abuser away from any residence or location to accomplish this;
  • allow the respondent to take only personal clothing and toiletries and any other items specifically ordered by the court but nothing else; and
  • order other relief that the judge believes is necessary for your protection or the protection of your family or household member(s), including orders or directives to a peace officer.1

A final 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;
  • grant you temporary custody of your children for up to 3 months if you can show that there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence to you;
  • order the abuser to not contact, bother, interfere with, or threaten minor children in your custody - and keep the abuser away from any residence or location accomplish this;
  • 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/household member frequently go;
  • order other relief that the judge believes is necessary for your protection or the protection of your family or household member(s), including orders or directives to a peace officer;
  • 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 any wireless phone numbers used by you and your children over to you (along with 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 request this in 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, where you live (where your permanent residence is located) or where you are temporarily living in order to escape the abuse.1

However, if you have left the home and want to keep the address where you are staying confidential, filing in that county would likely not be a good idea since it would alert the abuser to the fact that you are living in that county.

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 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:

  1. 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.
  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 s/he but 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.

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.