What happens when I apply for a sexual assault protection order?
When you apply for a sexual assault protection order, there are four things that may happen:
- The judge may sign the protection order “ex parte,” which means without a hearing where both parties are present and before the other party receives notice. A judge may grant your ex parte order if s/he believes that you would suffer severe harm, loss, or damage before there could be a hearing with both you and the abuser;
- The judge could deny the ex parte order and instead, schedule an evidentiary hearing within fourteen days at which point the respondent can “show cause” why an order should not be issued;
- The judge could decide that your in your situation, it would be more appropriate for you to have a harassment protection order or a domestic abuse protection order and could hold a hearing where the abuser would have to “show cause” why the judge should not issue one of those orders; or
- The judge may choose to deny the protection order without a hearing if it appears from your petition that you do not qualify for the requested order.1
If you get the ex parte order, the order is then served to the abuser and s/he has ten days to request what is called a “show-cause hearing” to present his/her evidence and ask that the order be dismissed. At this hearing, the abuser must prove to the judge why the order should not remain in effect and you will have to prove why you should keep the order. If the abuser requests a show-cause hearing, the judge will schedule the hearing within 30 days and will notify you and the harasser of the court date.1
Note: If you want the abuser to be prohibited from having a firearm, the judge must hold a protection order hearing. You, as the victim, can request this hearing if the abuser does not make the request.2