When will my order take effect?
Your order will be in effect once it is properly served to the harasser - this is the same for a temporary ex parte order as well as a final order. If the harasser comes to the hearing and a final order is issued, s/he should be served with the order by the deputy sheriff at the courthouse. If your harasser does not come to the hearing, s/he will still have to be served with the order by a law enforcement officer before it will take effect.1
1 See M.R.S. § 4655(6)
How can I modify (change) or extend my protection from harassment order?
To change (modify) your final protection from harassment order, you will need to make a motion to the court and the harasser must be notified. The court will have a hearing and may modify the terms of an existing order if circumstances have changed and the judge believes there is a good reason to change the order.1
Note: Once you get a temporary order, a harasser may ask the court to end (terminate) or change (modify) the temporary order and must only give you two days’ notice before the court date.2 The court may also have the final hearing on the protection from harassment order at the same time it hears the harasser’s request to vacate or modify the temporary order.3
To extend your protection from harassment order, you will need to file a “Motion to Extend.” The Maine courts website recommends filing your motion 30 days before the expiration date so that there is no gap in protection.3 The judge may extend your order for additional time if a judge believes that is necessary to protect you from harassment.
1 5 M.R.S. § 4655(2)
2 5 M.R.S. § 4654(6)
3 A Guide to Protection from Abuse & Harassment Cases on the Maine Courts website
What can I do if the harasser violates the order?
If you believe the harasser has violated the order, you can immediately call the police. If the harasser was served with the protection from harassment order or consent agreement (or was present in court when it was issued against him/her) and violates the order or agreement, the police can immediately arrest him/her.1
Violation of certain parts of a protective order is a Class D crime, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. In certain cases, a violation may be a Class C felony, or may be contempt of court.2
If the harasser is ordered to pay you money and hasn’t paid, you may be able to file a petition for contempt. To do so, you will want to go back to the courthouse where the order was issued.3
1 5 M.R.S. § 4659(2)
2 A Guide to Protection from Abuse & Harassment Cases on the Maine Courts website
3 See Pine Tree Legal Assistance’s Protection from Harassment page
If I get a protection order, will it show up in an internet search?
According to federal law, which applies to all states, territories, and tribal lands, the courts are not supposed to make available publicly on the internet any information that would be likely to reveal your identity or location. This applies to all of these documents:
- the petition you file;
- the protection order, restraining order, or injunction that was issued by the court; or
- the registration of an order in a different state.1
1 18 USC § 2265(d)(3)