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Obtaining an Order of Protection in Arizona

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An Order of Protection is a legal injunction issued by a court to prevent acts of domestic violence or harassment by restricting the behavior of someone who poses a threat. It can include provisions like prohibiting contact, excluding the individual from certain locations, and other specific conditions to ensure the safety of the person seeking protection.

This order is enforceable by law enforcement, meaning violations can lead to arrest and criminal charges.

If you are in a situation where you are seeking protection from someone who is causing you harm or fear, it is important to take action as soon as possible. The legal team at CHM is here to help guide you through the process of obtaining an Order of Protection in Arizona and assisting you in seeking the protection you deserve.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for support and take the necessary steps to ensure your safety. 

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Order of Protection

What is an “Order of Protection” 

An Order of Protection is a legal document issued by a court to help prevent harassment, abuse, or threats by restricting the behavior of a person who poses a danger to another. In Arizona, these orders are specifically designed to address situations involving domestic violence or ongoing harassment where the parties have a specific familial or intimate relationship.

The primary functions of an Order of Protection include:

  • Restricting Contact: It can prohibit the accused from contacting the victim through various means, including in-person, by phone, online, or through other forms of communication.
  • Excluding from Premises: The order may require the accused to stay away from the victim’s home, workplace, and other places frequently visited, ensuring physical distance is maintained.
  • Prohibiting Certain Behaviors: This includes behaviors such as stalking, threatening, harassing, or any physical violence against the victim.

The intent behind an Order of Protection is to provide immediate safety and prevent further abuse while the court further addresses the issues at hand.

This order is enforceable by law enforcement, meaning that any violation of the terms can lead to immediate legal consequences, including arrest.

women being stalked

What Situations Can Lead to Needing an Order of Protection

 Here are some common circumstances that might necessitate an Order of Protection:

  • Domestic Violence: This includes any physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the threat thereof within a domestic setting—typically where the aggressor and the victim are family members, spouses, or intimate partners.
  • Harassment: Persistent troubling, annoying, or alarming behavior, particularly of a threatening nature, that seriously inconveniences another person, often necessitating legal intervention to cease such actions.
  • Stalking: Engaging in a pattern of behavior intended to follow, monitor, observe, surveil, threaten, or communicate to or about a person, or interfere with a person’s property, which causes a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened.
  • Threats of Violence: Explicit or implicit threats that put an individual in fear for their safety, especially when the perpetrator has a history of violence or when previous threats have been acted upon.
  • Sexual Assault: Situations involving any form of non-consensual sexual contact or behavior occurring within a familial or intimate relationship.

In each of these scenarios, the law provides that individuals who feel threatened or who have been victims of these behaviors can seek an Order of Protection. The purpose is to legally restrict the perpetrator’s ability to come into contact with the victim, thereby providing a barrier against further harm. 

Who Can File an Order of Protection in Arizona 

In Arizona, the ability to file for an Order of Protection is primarily available to individuals who are experiencing threats or actual instances of domestic violence. Here’s a breakdown of who can and cannot file for such an order:

Who Can File:

  • Adult Individuals: Any adult who is a victim of domestic violence or who reasonably believes they are in imminent danger of becoming a victim can file a petition for an Order of Protection.
  • Guardians of Minors: If the victim is a minor, the petition must be filed by a parent, legal guardian, or a person who has legal custody of the minor. The court names the adult as the plaintiff and the minor as a specifically protected person.
  • Third Parties for Incapacitated Adults: In cases where an adult is temporarily or permanently unable to request an order due to incapacitation, a third party may file the petition on their behalf. The court must first approve the third party as an appropriate representative.


Who Cannot File:

  • Children Under 12: Orders of Protection cannot be issued against individuals who are under the age of 12 unless the order is granted by the juvenile division of the superior court.
  • Multiple Defendants: A single Order of Protection cannot be issued against more than one defendant. Each defendant requires a separate order.

Steps to Filling a Protection Order

Filing an Order of Protection in Arizona involves a series of specific steps that are designed to provide immediate and substantial protection to individuals experiencing threats or acts of domestic violence. Here’s a look at the steps involved:


Petition Filing:

A person in need of protection must file a verified petition with a magistrate, justice of the peace, or superior court judge. This petition, similar to other civil actions, outlines the need for an Order of Protection.


Completing the Petition:

The petition must include the name of the plaintiff and the defendant, the relationship between the parties, a specific statement including dates of the alleged domestic violence, and details of any pending legal actions involving both parties (such as divorce or custody battles).


Confidentiality of Information:

The plaintiff’s address and contact details are required for the court’s records to facilitate service and notification but are maintained confidentially and are not accessible to the public.


Court Review:

Once filed, the court reviews the petition along with any other evidence or pleadings. The judicial officer must determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that an act of domestic violence has occurred or may occur.


Issuance of the Order:

If the court finds reasonable grounds based on the evidence presented, it can issue an Order of Protection immediately, without the need for a prior hearing with the defendant.


Service of the Order:

The order must be served to the defendant by a law enforcement agency or an authorized server. This service confirms the legal obligation of the defendant to adhere to the terms of the order.


Effectiveness of the Order:

An Order of Protection is effective upon service and typically lasts up to one year but can be extended depending on subsequent court findings or hearings.


Right to a Hearing:

If the defendant contests the order, they are entitled to a hearing. This must be requested in writing, and the court must schedule the hearing typically within ten days from the request.



Violations of the Order of Protection are treated as criminal offenses. The order is enforceable statewide, regardless of the location of the plaintiff or defendant.


This sequence of steps is intended to provide a quick response to situations of domestic violence, ensuring that victims have a protective legal framework to rely on in times of need. The process is streamlined to prioritize safety while upholding the legal rights of all parties involved.

man arrested for violating restraining order

What are the Consequences for Violating an Order of Protection 

Violating an Order of Protection in Arizona is treated as a serious legal offense with several potential consequences. Here’s what can happen if someone disobeys the conditions of an Order of Protection:


Arrest and Criminal Charges

Violating an Order of Protection typically leads to immediate arrest by law enforcement. The violator can face criminal charges, which may result in misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the severity of the violation and any resulting harm.


Fines and Penalties

Courts can impose fines and penalties on individuals who violate Orders of Protection. These financial penalties are intended to discourage disregard for the court’s orders and to emphasize the seriousness of the violation.


Jail Time

Depending on the circumstances and the severity of the violation, jail time can be a consequence for those who disregard an Order of Protection. This serves as both a punitive measure and a deterrent against future violations.


Enhanced Sentences

For individuals with prior violations or those who cause significant harm, courts may impose enhanced sentences. These can include longer jail terms, more substantial fines, and stricter probation conditions.


Changes in Custody and Visitation Rights

Violating an Order of Protection can have profound effects on custody and visitation rights in family law cases. Courts may view a violation as indicative of a risk to the child’s safety and well-being, potentially leading to restrictions or loss of custody and visitation privileges.


Damage to Reputation and Employment

Being found guilty of violating an Order of Protection can damage one’s reputation, affecting personal and professional relationships. It can lead to employment difficulties, especially for positions that require background checks or uphold strict conduct standards.


Permanent Record

A violation of an Order of Protection often results in a permanent criminal record, which can impact various aspects of a person’s life, including employment opportunities, housing applications, and overall social standing.

Frequently Asked Questions


What exactly does an Order of Protection do? 

An Order of Protection is a legal order issued by a court to help prevent harassment, abuse, or threats by restricting the behavior of someone who poses a danger. It can prohibit the person from contacting, approaching, or even being in close proximity to the person who sought the order.


How quickly can I get an Order of Protection? 

In urgent situations, a temporary Order of Protection can be issued almost immediately, often on the same day the petition is filed. This temporary order remains in effect until a full court hearing, which is usually scheduled within 10 days.


 Is there a cost to file for an Order of Protection? 

No, in Arizona, there is no fee charged for filing a petition for an Order of Protection or for the service of the order. This policy helps ensure that financial constraints do not prevent someone from seeking necessary protection.


Can an Order of Protection be issued against someone in another state? 

Yes, an Order of Protection can be enforced regardless of the state where the defendant is located, as long as it was properly served. Additionally, orders issued in Arizona are recognized and enforceable in all states under the full faith and credit clause of the Violence Against Women Act.


What happens if the Order of Protection is violated? 

Violating an Order of Protection is considered a serious offense and can result in criminal charges. The enforcement of the order is a priority, and law enforcement officers can arrest the violator based on probable cause without a warrant.


Can I renew an Order of Protection? 

Yes, an Order of Protection can be renewed in Arizona if you believe that a threat still exists after the order expires. A request for renewal can be filed prior to the expiration of the current order, and the court will review the necessity of extending the protection.


Are there different types of protective orders? 

Yes, apart from Orders of Protection, Arizona also issues Injunctions Against Harassment and Injunctions Against Workplace Harassment, which serve similar purposes but are tailored to different circumstances and relationships between parties.


Can an Order of Protection cover my children as well? 

Yes, an Order of Protection can include provisions to protect your children. When filing the petition, you can request that your children be named as additional protected persons, which would legally restrict the defendant from contacting them as well.


How do I prove the need for an Order of Protection? 

When filing for an Order of Protection, you need to provide evidence of the abuse or threats. This can include police reports, witness testimonies, written threats, medical records, or any other documentation that supports your claims.


Can the terms of an Order of Protection be customized? 

Yes, the terms of an Order of Protection are tailored to the specifics of each case. The court may include various restrictions based on the nature of the threats, including removing the perpetrator from your home, setting specific distances they must maintain from you, and other relevant conditions to ensure safety.

Get Help From the Family Law Attorneys at CHM

If you are going through family law issues such as filing for an Order of Protection, Colburn Hintze Maletta (CHM) offers experienced legal support and compassionate client service. CHM is a full-service family law firm known for its comprehensive legal expertise and a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of integrity and ethics. Whether you need help with divorce proceedings, custody matters, or other family law concerns, the skilled attorneys at CHM are dedicated to protecting your rights and ensuring your voice is heard.

You can contact CHM directly at 602-825-2500 for immediate assistance or schedule a consultation.

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