What types of protection orders are available? How long do they last?
An emergency order can be granted after a police officer or sheriff requests one from the court. This generally can be done if you call law enforcement after an episode of domestic abuse. (Note: In some counties, law enforcement may not provide this service. If emergency orders are not available in your area, you will need to wait until the next business day and go to the district court to file for a temporary protection order.) To issue an emergency order, the judge must find that there are reasonable grounds to believe that you or your child is in immediate danger of domestic abuse following an incident of domestic abuse. You can receive an emergency order without a court hearing and without the abuser’s knowledge. The order may forbid the abuser from threatening to commit or committing further acts of domestic abuse, forbid the abuser from contacting you and grant you temporary custody of any minor children. It lasts 72 hours, or until the close of the next business day; whichever of those is later. You should file for a temporary order during business hours at the district court as soon as you are able to.1
A temporary protection order is designed to protect you until the court hearing for a permanent protection order. Like an emergency order, you can receive a temporary order without a court hearing and without the abuser’s knowledge. A judge will grant the temporary order only if s/he believes, based on the affidavit or petition that you fill out, that domestic abuse has occurred. If the judge grants a temporary order of protection, a hearing for a permanent order may be held within 10 days and the court will notify the abuser of the hearing. In a temporary protection order, the judge may award temporary custody and visitation of any children involved. If the judge does not grant a temporary order, a hearing for a permanent order may be held within 72 hours.2
A permanent protection order can be issued only after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to appear and present evidence, testimony, etc.3 Permanent protection orders can last up to six months if they grant support or custody of a child (but can be extended for an additional six months). Other permanent orders (injunctive orders) will continue until such time that one party asks for a modification or cancellation of the order.4 However, a judge may put an expiration date on the protection order based on the judge’s discretion.
To find out what a permanent protection order may contain, see How can a protection order help me?
Note: If both parties try to get an order of protection and a judge determines that both parties acted primarily as aggressors and that neither party acted primarily in self-defense, the judge may grant a mutual order of protection.3
1 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-3.2
2 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-4
3 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-5
4 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-6(C)