Legal Information: Maine

Restraining Orders

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September 28, 2017

What kinds of protection from harassment orders are there? How long do they last?

There are 3 types of protection from harassment orders: an emergency order, a temporary order, and a final order.

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 if you meet the requirements for getting a temporary protection order, explained in #2.  The order would be in effect until a hearing is held in the appropriate district court.1

Temporary protection from harassment orders: A temporary order can be granted on the day that you file your petition in court and can last until your final hearing.  You can only be granted a temporary order without notifying the harasser (known as “ex parte") if the judge believes from the information you provide, that:

  1. either is true:
    • 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; and
  2. either is true (Note: This paragraph does not apply if the harassment was related to an allegation of domestic violence, violence against a dating partner, sexual assault or stalking or if the harassment meets the definition listed in # 2 of What is the legal definition of harassment in Maine?):

    • the harasser was already notified by a sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, police officer or justice of the peace to stop the harassing behavior and you have a copy of the notification; or
    • you have 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.2

Final protection from harassment orders: A final protection from harassment order can be issued only 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?

15 M.R.S. § 4654(3)(A),(C)
25 M.R.S. § 4654(2)(A)
35 M.R.S. § 4655(1),(2)