What kinds of protection from harassment orders are there? How long do they last?
There are three types of protection from harassment orders.
Emergency protection from harassment orders: This type of order could be granted on nights, weekends, or holidays when the court is closed or if there is no judge available in your local district court. You must meet the requirements for getting a temporary protection order, explained below. The order would be in effect until a hearing is held in the appropriate district court.1
Temporary protection from harassment orders: An ex parte temporary order can be granted on the day that you file your petition in court and can last until your final hearing in certain circumstances. It can be granted if it is clear from your complaint and affidavit that:
- you (or your employees) may be in immediate and present danger of physical abuse or extreme emotional distress as a result of the harasser’s conduct; or
- your business property is in immediate and present danger of suffering substantial damage as a result of the harasser’s actions.2
In limited circumstances where you are alleging three or more acts of intimidation, confrontation, physical force, or the threat of physical force as the basis of the harassment, you may also have to meet one of two “notice requirements:” 1) that the harasser was already notified by law enforcement to stop the harassing behavior and you have a copy of the notification; or 2) that you filed a “statement of good cause” as to why you didn’t ask law enforcement to issue this notice or why the notice was not issued.However, this “notice requirement” does not apply if the harassment:
- is related to an allegation of domestic violence, violence against a dating partner, sexual assault, or stalking; or
- is based on the defendant committing one of the 36 crimes listed in What is the legal definition of harassment in Maine?2
Final protection from harassment orders: A final protection from harassment order can be issued in one of two ways:
- after a court hearing in which you and the harasser both have a chance to present evidence, testimony, and witnesses and the judge rules in your favor; or
- you can get an order without having a trial if the harasser consents to having an order against him/her – this is known as “an order by agreement” or a “consent order.”
Protection from harassment orders can last up to one year. However, you may be able to have it extended.3 For more information, see How can I modify (change) or extend my protection from harassment order?
1 5 M.R.S. § 4654(3)(A),(C)
2 5 M.R.S. § 4654(2)(A)
3 5 M.R.S. § 4655(1),(2)