I had a hearing on a civil protection order today and I thought this would be a good topic for a blog article!
Civil Protection Orders matters are often ugly. There is a lot of emotion from both sides. If you are looking to fight a Civil Protection Order or have one put in place, you should talk with an attorney first.
Civil Protection Order
A civil protection order is issued to prevent one individual from contacting another. This means any form of contact including using a 3rd party as an intermediary. This may also require that the "respondent" remain a certain distance from the protected person, their home, their work, or other locations. Any violation of this order is a misdemeanor and will result in a criminal prosecution.
This is not a "No Contact Order" but it essentially boils down to the same thing. a No Contact Order is put in place when someone is charged with a crime, it prevents the Defendant from having contact with any of the alleged victims of the crime.
Petition For A Civil Protection Order
Under Idaho Code §18-7907, anyone may file a "petition" (request) for a civil protection order in instances of domestic violence or where they feel in danger, harassed, or stalked. The petitioner must be, or have been, in a domestic relationship with the person they are seeking to be protected from. The petition outlines the reasons for the request and asks the court to enter the protection order for a set period of time.
Upon filing the petition a temporary protection order is put in place by the court. This grants the request of the petitioner until a hearing can be held on the matter. A copy of this petition must be served to the "respondent" - typically this is done by a police officer.
Hearing On A Civil Protection Order
After the respondent is served with the petition, they have the legal right to a hearing on the matter within 14 days of service. At the hearing the issue to be determined is whether the temporary protection order should be extended for up to one year. The respondent can choose to either fight the protection order or allow it to be put in place. If the respondent chooses to fight the protection order the petitioner (person seeking the protection) is responsible for proving that the protection order is necessary "by a preponderance of the evidence" (more likely than not...51%).
The petitioner will try to prove their case by putting on evidence (witnesses, documents, etc.) and then the respondent will have the opportunity to put on evidence as to why the protection order should not be granted. In the end, the judge decides whether to grant the requested relief or deny the petition.
Should I Fight It?
This is a good question, one that only you can decide. If you have no intention of having contact with the petitioner then maybe you are OK with the protection order being put in place. Keep in mind however that all the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the person the order protects against. This means that you will have to stay away from the protected person, not the other way around; if they call, you can't answer; if they show up at a gathering or public place, you leave. This does not go both ways.
Civil protection matters can be ugly. People are often looking to drag out all the dirty laundry that they can. If you are looking to fight a Civil Protection Order or have a Civil Protection Order put in place, you should talk with an attorney first.
For more information, START HERE. This is the Civil Protection Brochure published by the Idaho Supreme Court.