A victim of stalking or cyberstalking can get a protective order against an acquaintance, stranger, or anyone who is committing stalking/cyberstalking.
Who can get a stalking protective order?
Louisiana state law allows a victim of stalking or cyberstalking to apply for a protective order even if the person is not a family or household member or dating partner. Therefore, if you are being stalked by an acquaintance, a co-worker, or even someone with whom who you have no relationship, you may still be eligible for a protective order.1
Note: The person does not have to be arrested for stalking or cyperstalking. As long as you can prove that the person committed acts that would come under the criminal definitions of stalking or cyberstalking, you may qualify. (To read the exact definitions of each crime, click on the hyperlinked term in the prior sentence.)
1 LA R.S. 46:2173
What types of stalking protective orders are there? How long do they last?
There are two types of stalking protective orders:
- temporary restraining orders; and
- protective orders.
The judge may issue you a temporary restraining order without the abuser present (ex parte) if there is “good cause” to do so.1
If the judge does grant you a temporary restraining order, the abuser will be notified that you have an order against him/her and the court will give you a date, usually within 21 days, for a full court hearing. This is referred to as “the hearing on the rule to show cause,” where you and the abuser each have a chance to be present and tell your sides of the story.2
If the judge does not grant you a temporary restraining order on the day you file your petition, the judge should set the matter down for a hearing within 10 days of the abuser being served with your petition. This is referred to as “the hearing on the rule to show cause,” where you and the abuser each have a chance to be present and tell your sides of the story.2
After a full court hearing, a judge can issue a protective order. A protective order can generally last up to 18 months, and can later be renewed after a hearing in front of a judge.4 The parts of the protective order that tell the abuser to not abuse, harass, or interfere with you can last forever.5
1 LA R.S. § 46:2173
2 LA R.S. § 46:2135(B)
3 LA R.S. § 46:2135(D)
4 LA R.S. § 46:2136(F)(1)
5 LA R.S. § 46:2136(F)(2)(A)
How do I apply for a stalking protective order?
A stalking protective order can be filed in the civil district court. To find a courthouse near you, please go to our LA Courthouse Locations page. For more information on protective orders for victims of stalking, you can read the information on our Protective Orders (for Domestic Abuse) page since both pages refer to the same protective orders.
What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
Through the Police or Sheriff (Criminal): If the abuser violates the protective order, you can call 911 immediately. The law says that if a law enforcement officer has reason to believe that a family or household member or dating partner has been abused in violation of a temporary or final restraining order/protective order, the officer is supposed to immediately arrest the abuser.1 It is also considered a violation of protective order if the abuser has a firearm in his/her possession or if s/he is carrying a concealed weapon in violation of the law that prohibits firearm possession when certain long-term orders are in effect.2
Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. (If no arrest is made, you may still be able to file a criminal complaint against the abuser.) If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it may help you have the order extended or modified. It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case.
If the abuser is arrested, and found guilty of a violation, s/he can be forced to pay a fine and/or go to jail. The penalties can vary, depending on whether or not it is his/her first conviction for violation of a protective order or not. The penalty increases for a second (or third, fourth, etc.) conviction as well as the penalty can be more severe if the violation involves battery or any crime of violence.3 To read about the penalties, go to our Selected Louisiana Statutes page.
Even if the police do not arrest at the scene, law enforcement officers are supposed to at least issue a summons to the abuser if there is probable cause that the order was violated.4
Through the Civil Court System (Civil): You may file for civil contempt for a violation of the order. The abuser can be held in “civil contempt” if s/he does anything that your protective order orders him/her not to do.5
1 LA R.S. 46:2140(A)
2 LA R.S. 14:79(A)(4)
3 LA R.S. 14:79B)
4 LA R.S. 14:79(E)
5 See, for example, LA ST Ch.C. Art. 1571