RESTRAINING ORDERS -
HARASSMENT, STALKING, OR NON-FAMILIAL ABUSE
If you are not in immediate danger but believe yourself to be in need of protection, you can apply for a restraining order. Restraining Orders are issued by Magistrates' Court. You should contact the Magistrate for the area in which the offender lives. For a complete list of Magistrates' Courts and their locations, click here to link to the directory of Magistrates' Courts.
Magistrates deal with cases of harassment, stalking, or abuse by a person who is not a member of your family. However, if you are uncertain whether or not your situation is "domestic" (for instance, a boyfriend-girlfriend situation, or a situation involving persons who cohabitate or share community property) you should check with Family Court or Magistrates' Courts for information on where you ought to file your case.
Cases for Restraining Orders must involve at least 2 incidents of harassment, stalking, or other threatening situations, and they must have occurred within the last 90 days. There is no initial filing fee, however if a Restraining Order is issued by the court, the party which does not prevail will be required to pay a court fee . You will also be asked to fill out a complaint and motion. A hearing date will be set for 5 to 15 days from the date you file your paperwork in the Magistrates' Court. This gives the court time to arrange for the papers to be
served on the person named as the Defendant. Complaints will be served by a Sheriff's Deputy. The defendant must be served before the hearing can take place. A Magistrates' Restraining Order is good for a period of six months from the date of the hearing. These restraining orders can be renewed after the six month period, but you will need to request another hearing from the court in order for this renewal to be granted. If an immediate restraining order is required it can be issued and remain valid until the time of the "show cause" hearing.
A violation of either a restraining order or a temporary restraining order is a criminal offense, and if such an order is violated, you can contact the Magistrates' Court and request that the Magistrate issue an arrest warrant.