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Legal Information: North Dakota

North Dakota Restraining Orders

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Restraining Orders

A restraining order is a legal order issued by a state court which requires one person to stop harming another. In North Dakota, there are protection orders due to domestic violence and disorderly conduct restraining orders, which are explained in this section.

Protection Orders

A protection order is a civil order that provides protection from harm by a family or household member, including someone you are dating.

Basic information

What is the legal definition of domestic violence in North Dakota?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a domestic violence protection order.

North Dakota law defines domestic violence as when a family or household member:

  • physically harms you;
  • causes you bodily injury;
  • physically forces you into sexual activity;
  • assaults you; or
  • puts you in fear of immediate physical harm, bodily injury, physically forced sexual activity, or assault.1

1 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-01(2)

What types of protection orders are there in North Dakota and how long do they last?

There are two types of domestic violence protection orders:

Temporary (ex parte) protection orders:
A temporary protection order can be issued the day you file your petition without the abuser being present in court and without prior notice to the abuser.  A temporary order can be granted  if you can prove to the judge through your testimony or evidence that there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence based upon a recent incident of domestic violence.1  Generally, a temporary protection order lasts until the hearing for the protection order, which is usually held within 14 days but can be later if there is “good cause” to delay it.2

Note: According to North Dakota law, if the courts are closed and you are in urgent need of an ex parte order, you may file an application for an order with a magistrate.  If there is “good cause” to do so, the magistrate can grant you an order.  Showing that you are in immediate and present danger of domestic violence is considered to be “good cause” to grant an order.  If you are granted an order by a magistrate, it will last 72 hours, or until a district court can grant you  a temporary order.3

Domestic violence protection orders:
A domestic violence protection order can be issued based upon a showing of actual domestic violence or domestic violence that is about to happen (“imminent domestic violence”).  The order can be issued only after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to testify, and present evidence and witnesses to try to convince the judge to rule in your favor.  If the judge grants you the order, the judge will indicate in the order how long the order will last.4  At this hearing, you may want to try to get a lawyer to represent you so that you can be present your case.  For legal referrals, go to our ND Finding a Lawyer page. 

1 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-03(1)
2 N.D. Code §§ 14-07.1-03(4); 14-07.1-02(2)
3 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-08
4 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-02(4); see North Dakota Supreme Court DVPO Instructions

How can a domestic violence protection order help me?

In a temporary ex parte protection order, a judge can:

  • forbid the abuser from contacting you or committing acts of domestic violence against you or any other person;
  • exclude the abuser or anyone with whom the abuser lives from your home, another person’s home (such as your relative), or a domestic violence shelter;
  • award temporary custody or establish temporary visitation rights of minor children you have with the abuser; and
  • order the abuser to hand over any firearms in his/her possession to the authorities and forbid him/her from buying firearms if the judge believes that the abuser is likely to use, display or threaten to use the firearm in further acts of violence.1

A final domestic violence protection order can:

  • forbid any party from threatening, molesting, injuring, harassing, or having contact with any other person;
  • exclude the abuser or anyone with whom the abuser lives from your home, another person’s home (such as your relative), or a domestic violence shelter if necessary to the physical or mental well-being of the you or others;
  • award temporary custody and visitation rights of any minor children in common;
  • recommend or require that you and/or the abuser undergo counseling with a domestic violence program or other organization that provides professional services that the judge thinks is appropriate;
  • award spousal support, child support, and attorney’s fees;
  • award temporary use of personal property, including motor vehicles; and
  • order the abuser to hand over any firearms in his/her possession to the authorities and forbid him/her from buying firearms if the judge believes that the abuser is likely to use, display or threaten to use the firearm in further acts of violence. Note: The abuser can be ordered to surrender the firearm to the sheriff/police in the county/city where the respondent lives by a specific date. If the abuser does not surrender the firearm, s/he can be arrested and the law enforcement officer can take possession of the firearm.2

Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

1 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-03(2)
2 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-02(4)

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.

Who can get a protection order

Am I eligible for a protection order?

You may be eligible for a domestic violence protection order if a family or household member commits an act of domestic violence or if you can prove that domestic violence that is about to happen (“imminent domestic violence”). For the purpose of getting a domestic violence protection order, “family or household member” means a:

  • spouse or former spouse;
  • parent;
  • child;
  • other family member;
  • person related by blood or marriage;
  • a person you are dating;
  • a person who is living with you or has lived with you before; or
  • someone with whom you have a child in common, even if you were never married or lived together.1

Note: The law says that you can file against “any other person” if the judge determines that the relationship between you and the abusive person is “sufficient to warrant the issuance of a domestic violence protection order.”2

1 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-01(4)
2 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-02(1)

Can I get a protection order against a same-sex partner?

In North Dakota, you may apply for a protection order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Am I eligible for a protection order?  You must also be the victim of an act of domestic violence, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic violence in North Dakota?

You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.

How much does it cost to get a protection order? Do I need a lawyer?

There is no cost to file for a protection order or to have it served on the abuser.1

Although you do not need a lawyer to file, it may be in your best interest to get a lawyer, especially if the abuser is represented by one.  A domestic violence organization in your area may be able to refer you to an attorney or legal aid service that will take your case for free or at a reduced rate.  Go to our ND Finding a Lawyer page to find help in your area.

1 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-03(6)

If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.

The steps for obtaining a domestic violence protection order

Step 1: Go to a certified domestic violence advocate or to the district court and request a petition.

Most protection orders in North Dakota come through the help of a certified domestic violence advocate.  In fact, if you contact the court directly, you may be referred to the closest domestic violence program for help.  See ND Advocates and Shelters for the location of an organization near you.

However, you may choose to get an attorney or seek an order by yourself.  This is always your right.  If you choose to seek the order yourself, go to a district court in your area.  You can find a court near you by going to our ND Courthouse Locations page.

Find the civil court clerk.  The clerk is the courthouse official in charge of records.  Request an application for a domestic violence protection order from the clerk.  Also tell the clerk if you want a temporary ex parte order.  Usually you apply for these at the same time.  Read more about temporary ex parte orders.   You can find links to applications online by going to Download Court Forms.

Step 2: Fill out the application.

Carefully fill out the forms. You may want to write about the most recent incidents of violence, using descriptive words like “slapping,” “hitting,” “grabbing,” “threatening,” “choking,” etc., that fit your situation. Include details and dates, if possible. Be specific.

You may also have to provide an accurate physical description of the abuser and an address where s/he can be found so the order can be served.

A domestic violence organization may be able to provide you with help in filling out the form. See ND Advocates and Shelters for the location of an organization near you.

Note: Do not sign the petition until you have shown it to a clerk. The form may need to be notarized or signed while someone from the court watches.

Step 3: A judge will review your application.

After you finish filling out your application, bring it to the court clerk.  The clerk will forward it to a judge.  The judge may want to ask you questions as s/he reviews your application.  The judge will decide whether or not to give you an ex parte order if you have requested one.  To read more about temporary ex parte orders, go to What types of protection orders are there? How long do they last?

Whether or not you are granted an ex parte order, your case will be scheduled for a hearing for the final domestic violence protection order (assuming your petition is not dismissed).  You will be given papers that tell you the time and date of your hearing for a domestic violence protection order.  Your hearing for a domestic violence protection order will take place within 14 days of filing your application with the court unless there is “good cause” to delay it.1

If the judge grants you an ex parte order, the court clerk will forward it to law enforcement so that your order can be enforced.2

1 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-02(2)
2 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-03(5)

Step 4: Service of process

The abuser must be served with a notice of hearing and with any protection orders that a judge has granted you.  The judge will order the sheriff or other law enforcement officer to assist with serving the abuser.1  If you have questions about service, see our ND Sheriff Departments page to find the sheriff department nearest you.

The abuser must be served at least five days before the hearing date.  If the abuser isn’t served five days prior to the hearing, the judge may reschedule your hearing.2

1 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-04
2 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-02(3)

You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

Step 5: The hearing

It is very important that you attend all of the court dates.  If you do not attend, the judge may dismiss your case and any temporary protection orders will stop being effective. If you find out you absolutely cannot attend, contact the court clerk immediately and ask how you can get a “continuance” or an “adjournment” for a later court date. 

If the court case does not settle, it will go to a hearing (trial).  At the hearing, you will be able to testify in court about the abuse and harassment you have experienced, present witnesses and other evidence to support your case.  The abuser will be allowed to do the same.  If you are not represented by a lawyer, you may want to consult with a lawyer before the hearing to understand what documents and evidence are legally admissible in court.  You can also find tips on our Preparing Your Case page.

If the abuser does not attend the hearing, the judge may issue a “default judgment” and you may receive a protection order against him/her in his/her absence.  The judge may still ask you to present your evidence and testimony and then decide the case based on that alone.  It is also possible that the judge may decide to reschedule the hearing for a different day.

If you have a temporary protection order, it may expire on the next court date and another temporary one may be issued that is effective until the following court date.  Be sure to look at the expiration date of the order before each court date so you know if the judge should be issuing another temporary protection order on your return court date.  If the judge does not mention that the protection order is extended or continued, be sure to ask the judge if a new order is being issued on your behalf.  Once the case goes to a hearing or trial, if you win your case, the judge would issue a final protection order.

After the hearing

Can the abuser have a gun?

Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession.  There are a few places where you can find this information:

  • first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in North Dakota have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
  • second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
  • third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.

You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website

What should I do when I leave the courtroom?

Here are some things you may want to consider doing.  However, you will have to evaluate each one to see if it works for your situation.

  • Review the order before you leave the courthouse.  If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave.
  • If you are concerned that the abuser will harass you when you leave the courthouse, ask the court officer if s/he would escort you to the door of the building.  If you are afraid the abuser may follow you once you leave the courthouse, explain this to the court officer.  The court officer might hold the abuser there for a few minutes while you leave so that you can get a head start, which would make it difficult for the abuser to trail you.  This could be especially important if you are living in a shelter or confidential location and you do not want the abuser to know where you are staying.
  • Make several copies of the protective order as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
  • If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.  In some counties, there might be a domestic violence agency that would change your locks for free if you have a protection order. 

Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order.  People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school.  Many batterers obey protective orders, but some do not.  It is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe.  Click on the following link for suggestions on Safety Tips.  Advocates at local resource centers can also assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support as well.

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

If the abuser violates the protection order, you can report it to the police. Depending on the facts, the police may decide to arrest the abuser.

The first time someone violates a domestic violence protection order, it could be contempt of court and a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of jail time of up to 1 year, a fine of up to $3,000, or both.1 If the same person commits another violation of the domestic violence protection order, it could be a Class C felony that can be punished by jail time of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.2 In addition, if the abuser is arrested for violating the protection order (or any crime involving domestic violence), the judge may order that electronic home detention or GPS monitoring be used for the abuser as a condition of release.3

If you do call the police and they respond to an incident, it is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number(s) in case you want to follow up on your case. Also, make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it may help you have the order extended or modified.

1 N.D. Code §§ 14-07.1-06; 12.1-32-01(5)
2 N.D. Code §§ 14-07.1-06; 12.1-32-01(4)
3 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-19

How do I change, drop, or extend the order?

You must petition the court to drop or change any part of your order.

If you want to extend your domestic violence protection order, you will have to file a motion requesting that the judge extend the order.  It is best to start the process before your first order expires, or you may have to start from the beginning and repeat the steps you took to get your original order.

The clerk at the district court will have all of the necessary forms to file.  You can find this contact information on the ND Courthouse Locations page.

What happens to my order if I move?

Your protection order is enforceable in all states.  If a person obtains a protection order in one state and leaves that state, the law requires that all other states give “full faith and credit” to the order, meaning that it will be enforced just like it would be in North Dakota.  However, each state has its own laws and procedures for enforcing an order that may be slightly different depending on the state.  Note: Because an ex parte order is given based only on your information and the abuser did not have an opportunity to be heard, there may be limitations on the enforcement of an ex parte order in another state.

Any person with a valid protection order (an order that has not expired) who relocates to another state may want to inquire at a court or law enforcement agency for instructions on the registration and enforcement of orders in that state.  

If you are moving to a new state, you may also call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111, ext. 2) for information on enforcing your order in your new state.

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

 

Sexual Assault Restraining Orders

A sexual assault restraining order is a civil order that provides protection to victims of sexual assault.

Basic info

How can a sexual assault restraining order help me?

A temporary or final sexual assault restraining order can require that the abuser not:

  • harass, stalk, or threaten you;
  • come to your house, school, and workplace; and
  • contact you.1

Note: A final sexual assault restraining order that includes these protections cannot be granted until the abuser has received notice of the case and had an opportunity to be present for a court hearing.2

1 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31-01.2(5)
2 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31-01.2(6)

What is the legal definition of sexual assault?

Sexual assault is non-consensual sexual contact.1 Non-consensual sexual contact is when an abuser knowingly has sexual contact with you or causes another person to have sexual contact with you when:

  • the abuser knows (or should reasonably know) that the behavior is offensive to you;
  • the abuser knows (or should reasonably know) that you have a “mental disease or defect” that would make you unable to understand the abuser’s behavior;
  • the abuser or someone acting for the abuser has impacted your ability to consent or control your behavior by giving you alcohol or drugs without your knowledge;
  • you are detained in a hospital, prison, or other institution and the abuser is your supervisor or has the power to discipline you;
  • you are 15-17 years old and the abuser is your parent, guardian, or some other person responsible for your supervision and welfare; or
  • you are 15-17 years old and the abuser is an adult.2

1 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31-01.2(1)(b)
2 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-20-07(1)

What kinds of sexual assault restraining orders are there and how long do they last?

There are two types of sexual assault restraining orders:

Temporary (ex parte) sexual assault restraining orders: The judge can issue a temporary sexual assault restraining order ex parte, which means the abuser does not have to be present in court or have notice of the hearing. If the judge finds that your petition shows reasonable grounds to believe the abuser committed a sexual assault, the judge can issue the temporary sexual assault restraining order.1 A temporary sexual assault restraining order usually lasts for up to 14 days until the hearing on a longer-term sexual assault restraining order. The temporary order can be issued for longer than 14 days if you show the judge a good reason (good cause) for why the hearing cannot happen in fourteen days.2

Sexual assault restraining orders: A (final) sexual assault restraining order will only be granted after the abuser has been notified of the time, date, and place of the court hearing and has a chance to participate in the court hearing.3 Both you and the abuser will have an opportunity to present evidence, testimony, witnesses, etc. – you might want to get a lawyer for this hearing, especially if you think the abuser might have one. Go to our ND Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals.

If after the hearing, the judge believes that the abuser committed the sexual assault, the judge may grant a sexual assault restraining order. A sexual assault restraining order can last for up to two years.4

1 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31-01.2(4)
2 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31-01.2(6)(c)
3 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31-01.2(6)(b)
4 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31-01.2(7)

Who can file for a sexual assault restraining order?

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.

Getting the restraining order

Do I need an attorney to file for a sexual assault restraining order?

You do not need an attorney to file for a sexual assault restraining order. However, it may be helpful to have an attorney, especially if the abuser is represented by one. Go to our ND Finding a Lawyer page to find help in your area. If you cannot find a lawyer through one of the organizations listed, a domestic violence organization in your area may be able to refer you to an attorney or legal aid service that will take your case for free or at a reduced rate.

How do I get a sexual assault restraining order?

What happens if the abuser violates the sexual assault restraining order?

If the abuser knows about the sexual assault restraining order and violates the order, you can call the police or file a contempt motion.1 The police may arrest the abuser for this violation. Violation of an order can be a class A misdemeanor and is considered contempt of court. If the abuser violates the sexual assault restraining order more than once, the abuser may be charged with a class C felony. 2

An officer can arrest the abuser without a warrant for violating a sexual assault restraining order if the officer:

  • can confirm that the judge issued a sexual assault restraining order; and
  • has probable cause to believe the abuser violated the sexual assault restraining order.2

If the abuser is found guilty of a class A misdemeanor, s/he could be sentenced to go to prison for up to 360 days, pay a fine of $3,000 or both.3 If the abuser is found guilty of a class C felony, s/he could be sentenced to go to prison for up to 5 years, pay a fine of $10,000, or both.4

1 N.D.C.C. § 27-10-07
2 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31-01.2(9)
3 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-32.01(5)
4 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-32.01(4)

Disorderly Conduct Restraining Orders

If you are not eligible for a protection order based on domestic violence, you may be able to get a disorderly conduct restraining order against the abuser. The abuser can be anyone: an acquaintance, intimate partner, family member, etc.

Basic info

What is a disorderly conduct restraining order?

A disorderly conduct restraining order (DCRO) can offer protection to someone who is the victim of disorderly conduct, which is similar to harassment.  You do not need to have a specific relationship with the abuser - s/he could be a anyone: a neighbor, acquaintance, intimate partner, family member, etc. 

A DCRO could be a good option for someone who is not eligible to file for a domestic violence protection order (DVPO).  However, it is possible that a person may actually qualify for both a DCRO and a DVPO and can have both at the same time.1

1Wolt v. Wolt, 778 N.W.2d 802 (Supr. Ct. 2010); N.D.C.C. §14–07.1–07 

 

What is the legal definition of disorderly conduct?

“Disorderly conduct” is intrusive (interfering) or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that are intended to negatively affect your safety, security, or privacy.1  Some examples could be repeated teasing, yelling threats, harassing phone calls, and other behaviors that are intended to scare you.  In addition, for the purpose of getting a disorderly conduct restraining order, human trafficking or attempted human trafficking are also included in the definition of “disorderly conduct.”1

1 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(1)

What kinds of disorderly conduct restraining orders are there and how long do they last?

Temporary disorderly conduct restraining orders:
A temporary disorderly conduct restraining order will tell the abuser to stop harassing or abusing you and/or prohibit the abuser from contacting you. To get one, you will need to fill out a petition with your name (or the name of the victim if you are applying for a minor), the abuser’s name, and the specific facts that explain what happened and why you need a disorderly conduct restraining order.1 Based on your petition, if the judge believes that the abuser committed an act of disorderly conduct, the judge may issue a temporary order. To get a temporary order, the abuser does not need to be notified in advance. A temporary order will be effective until a final disorderly conduct restraining order is served on the abuser or until the temporary order is dismissed by the judge (if you are denied a final order at the hearing).2

A full hearing for a final disorderly conduct restraining order will be scheduled no more than 14 days from the date you get the temporary order (unless good cause is shown for why the hearing cannot happen in fourteen days).3

Disorderly conduct restraining orders:
A (final) disorderly conduct restraining order will only be granted after the abuser has been notified of the date and place of the court hearing and has a chance to tell his/her side of the story at a court hearing. Both you and the abuser will have an opportunity to present evidence, testimony, witnesses, etc. – you might want to get a lawyer for this hearing, especially if you think the abuser might have one. If the judge believes the abuser has committed disorderly conduct, s/he will grant a disorderly conduct restraining order.3 The order will last up to 2 years.4

1 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(3)
2 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(4)
3 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(5)
4 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(6)

Who can file for a disorderly conduct restraining order?

Anyone who is a victim of disorderly conduct can file for a disorderly conduct restraining order.  If you are a minor, (younger than 18 years old), your parent or guardian can file for you.1  You do not need to have a specific relationship with the abuser.2  It may be a neighbor, acquaintance, intimate partner, family member, etc.

1 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(2)
2 See N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(5)

How can a disorderly conduct restraining order help me?

An ex parte temporary order and a final disorderly conduct order can order the person who is harassing you or abusing you to:

  • stop the disorderly conduct; and
  • have no contact with you.1  

These orders do not offer other kinds of relief that a domestic violence protection order can give you, such as temporary custody, the surrender of firearms, or exclusion of the abuser from the home.

1 See N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(4)

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.

Getting the restraining order

How do I get a disorderly conduct restraining order?

You can file for a disorderly conduct order in district court (see our ND Courthouse Locations page).  The steps for obtaining a disorderly conduct order are similar to those for getting a DV protection order.  Please see What are the steps for obtaining a DV protection order? for more information.  If you are in immediate danger, a judge can issue you a temporary disorderly conduct restraining order on the date you file your petition that will last until you have a full court hearing.  For more information about the kinds of disorderly conduct restraining orders, please see What kinds of disorderly conduct restraining orders are there and how long do they last?

Contact the clerk of the court in your area or a lawyer for more information.  A state’s attorney may also advise and assist a person in preparing the documents necessary to get a disorderly conduct restraining order.1

1 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(10)

Do I need an attorney to file for a disorderly conduct restraining order?

You do not need an attorney to file for a disorderly conduct restraining order. However, it may be in your interest to hire an attorney, especially if the abuser is represented by one. Go to our ND Finding a Lawyer page to find help in your area. If you cannot find a lawyer through one of the organizations listed, a domestic violence organization in your area may be able to refer you to an attorney or legal aid service that will take your case for free or at a reduced rate if your case involves a spouse or intimate partner.

How much does it cost to get a disorderly conduct restraining order?

There is a fee to file for a disorderly conduct restraining order1 unless you are filing against someone who is committing domestic violence against you (e.g., an intimate partner, spouse, etc.) – then there is no fee.2 The amount of the fee may vary by district court. You can check with the clerk of court for the fee in your district. If you feel you cannot afford the fee, you may be able to request that the fee be waived by filing a form called “Affidavit in Support of Petition for Waiver of Fees.” If you request a fee waiver, the judge will decide if you need to pay the fee or not.1

1 See, for example, the Stutsman County State’s Attorney Office website
2 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(11)

What happens if the abuser violates the disorderly conduct restraining order?

If the abuser violates the disorderly conduct restraining order, you can call the police. The police may arrest the abuser for this violation. Violation of an order can be a class A misdemeanor1 and the abuser can be sentenced to up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $3,000.2 The disorderly conduct restraining order should clearly state what acts will violate the order.3

1 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(8)
2 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-32-01(5)
3 N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(7)(a),(b)

Moving to Another State with a North Dakota Protection Order

If you are moving out of state or are going to be out of the state for any reason, your domestic violence protection order can still be enforceable.

General rules

Can I get my domestic violence protection order from North Dakota enforced in another state?

Yes. If you have a valid North Dakota DVPO that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state. The Violence Against Women Act, which is a federal law, states that all valid DVPOs granted in the United States receive “full faith and credit” in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories. See How do I know if my DVPO is good under federal law? to find out if your DVPO qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state DVPOs in the same way it enforces its own orders. Meaning, if your abuser violates your out-of-state DVPO, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated. This is what is meant by “full faith and credit.”

 

How do I know if my protection order is good under federal law?

A domestic violence protection order is good anywhere in the United States as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.1
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.2

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

I have an ex parte temporary order. Can it be enforced in another state?

Yes. An ex parte temporary order can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my DVPO is good under federal law?

Note: The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte temporary order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court). However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.

 

Getting your protection order enforced in another state

How do I get my protection order enforced in another state?

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your domestic violence protection order (DVPO) enforced in another state.

Many states do have laws or regulations (rules) about registering or filing of out-of-state orders, which can make enforcement easier, but a valid DVPO is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.1  Rules differ from state to state, so it may be helpful to find out what the rules are in your new state. You can contact a local domestic violence organization for more information by visiting our Advocates and Shelters page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.

Note: It is important to keep a copy of your DVPO with you at all times. It is also a good idea to know the rules of states you will be living in or visiting to ensure that your out-of-state order can be enforced in a timely manner.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

 

Do I need anything special to get my protection order enforced in another state?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your protection order. A certified copy says that it is a “true and correct” copy; it is signed and initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it. In North Dakota, a certified order has a stamp and a seal on it.

The copy you originally received was most likely not a certified copy. If your copy is not a certified copy, go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk’s office for a certified copy. It costs on average $10 to get a certified copy of a ND DVPO.

Note: It is a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You will also want to bring several copies of the order with you when you move. Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on. Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work. Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.

Can I get someone to help me? Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to get your DVPO enforced in another state.

However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or attorney in the state that you move to. A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your DVPO, and help you through the process if you decide to do so.

To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state you are moving to click on the Places that Help tab on the top of this page and then choose the state you are moving to.

Do I need to tell the court in North Dakota if I move?

You are not required to tell the court in North Dakota if you move, but it is recommended that you give the court a current address so that they can notify you of any actions that are taken regarding your DVPO.

Enforcing custody provisions in another state

I was granted temporary custody with my DVPO. Can I take my kids out of the state?

Maybe. It will depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your DVPO. You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving. If the abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.

To read more about custody laws in North Dakota, go to the Custody page.

If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a domestic violence advocate or lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children. You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in the ND area on our ND Places that Help page.

I was granted temporary custody with my DVPO. Will another state enforce this custody order?

Yes. Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a DVPO can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.1

1 18 U.S.C. § 2266

Enforcing your Out-of-State Order in North Dakota

If you are planning to move to North Dakota or are going to be in North Dakota for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

General rules for out-of-state orders in North Dakota

Can I get my protection order enforced in North Dakota? What are the requirements?

Yes. Your protection order can be enforced in North Dakota as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.1
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
    • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.2

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

Can I have my out-of-state protection order changed, extended, or canceled in ND?

No. Only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order. You cannot have this done by a court in North Dakota.

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued. You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living.  To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the “How to Get a Restraining Order” page for the state where your order was issued.

If your order does expire while you are living in North Dakota, you may be able to get a new one issued in North Dakota but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in North Dakota. To find out more information on how to get a protective order in North Dakota, visit our What are the steps for obtaining a DV protection order? page.

 

I was granted temporary custody with my out-of-state protection order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in ND?

Yes. As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,1 North Dakota can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets these standards, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer in your area click here ND Finding a Lawyer.

1 The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

 

Registering your out-of-state DVPO in ND

If I don’t have a hard copy of my out-of-state order, how can law enforcement enforce it?

To enforce an out-of-state order, law enforcement typically may rely on the National Crime Information Center Protection Order File (NCIC-POF). The NCIC-POF is a nationwide, electronic database that contains information about orders of protection that were issued in each state and territory in the U.S. The Protection Order File (POF) contains court orders that are issued to prevent acts of domestic violence, or to prevent someone from stalking, intimidating, or harassing another person. It contains orders issued by both civil and criminal state courts. The types of protection orders issued and the information contained in them vary from state to state.1

There is no way for the general public to access the NCIC-POF. That means you cannot confirm a protection order is in the registry or add a protection order to the registry without the help of a government agency that has access to it.

Typically, the state police or criminal justice agency in the state has the responsibility of reporting protection orders to NCIC. However, in some cases, the courts have taken on that role and they manage the protection order reporting process.2 NCIC–POF is used by law enforcement agencies when they need to verify and enforce an out-of-state protection order. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

However, not all states routinely enter protection orders into the NCIC. Instead, some states may enter the orders only in their own state protection order registry, which would not be accessible to law enforcement in other states. According to a 2016 report by the National Center for State Courts, more than 700,000 protection orders that were registered in state protection order databases were not registered in the federal NCIC Protection Order File.2 This means that if a law enforcement officer is trying to enforce a protection order from another state that is missing from the NCIC, the victim would likely need to show the officer a hard copy of the order to get it immediately enforced. If you no longer have a copy of your original order, you may want to contact the court that issued the order to ask them how you can get another copy sent to you.

1 National Center for Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit
2 See State Progress in Record Reporting for Firearm-Related Background Checks: Protection Order Submissions, prepared by the National Center for State Courts, April 2016

How do I register my protection order in North Dakota?

To register your protection order in ND, you need to bring a certified copy of the order to any court clerk along with a sworn statement saying that the order is valid.  The clerk will give you a certified copy to show that your order has been registered and will send the order to the local law enforcement agency.1

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in North Dakota for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our ND Places that Help page.

 

 1 ND Statutes §14-07.4-04

Do I have to register my protection order in ND in order to get it enforced?

No. ND state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order and can truthfully tell the officer that you believe the order is still in effect.1 The order does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by a ND police officer, but the officer does need to believe that it is a valid (real) order.2

1 ND Statutes §§14-07.4-02; 14-07.4-03(1)

2 ND Statutes §14-07.4-03(4)

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Tips page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our ND Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

 

What if I don't register my protection order? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Since neither federal law nor state law requires you to register your protection order in order to get it enforced, it should not be more difficult to have your order enforced even if you don’t register it in North Dakota.1   Also, ND state law says that a police officer must enforce an out-of-state protection order as long as you can present a copy of the order.2

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in North Dakota. To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in ND, go to our ND Places that Help page.

 1 ND Statutes §14-07.4-03(4)
 2 ND Statutes §14-07.4-03(1)

Does it cost anything to register my protection order?

No. There is no fee for registering your protection order in North Dakota.1

1 ND Statutes §14-07.4-04(6)