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, 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 Planning. 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 one 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 five 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.
For more information about contempt, including the difference between criminal contempt and civil contempt, go to our general Domestic Violence Restraining Orders page.
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
I was not granted a domestic violence protection order. What are my options?
If you applied for an order but the judge did not grant it, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They can help you develop a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. For safety planning help, ideas, and information, go to our Safety Planning page. You will find a list of resources on our ND Advocates and Shelters page.
You can also reapply for a protection order if a new incident of domestic abuse occurs after you are denied the order.
If you believe the judge made an error of law, you can talk to a lawyer about the possibility of an appeal. Generally, appeals are complicated and you will most likely need the help of a lawyer. Also, there is a limited amount of time to file an appeal after the judge denies you the protective order, so please talk to a lawyer immediately if you want to explore this option. See our File an Appeal page for more information, and go to ND Finding a Lawyer for legal referrals.
How do I change, drop, or extend the order?
You can file in court to change, drop, or extend your domestic violence protection order.1 If you plan to file in court to request that the judge extend the order, it is best to start the process before your first order expires; otherwise, 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.
1 See N.D.C.C. § 14-07.1-02
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.
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)