Restraining orders (in technical terms, “protective orders”) are a means for people who feel threatened, stalked, or harassed to get the help of law enforcement to prevent the threatening person from continuing his or her bad behavior. A valid protective order is issued by a court and becomes a binding prohibition against doing the acts proscribed by the order. If the person subject to the order (the so-called “adverse party”) violates it, he or she can be subject to criminal penalties. The process for obtaining a protective order is fairly straightforward, but as with any legal topic there are specific steps an applicant must follow.
What can protective order do?
The purpose of protective orders is to require someone to stop threatening or harassing the applicant. Each protective order is customized to the specific needs of the applicant. Generally speaking, they may include restrictions as to the following:
- Limits on where the adverse party may go: A protective order can order the adverse party to stay a certain distance away from the applicant’s home, school, business, or place of employment. Where necessary and appropriate it can also name specific other locations, such as the homes of the applicant’s other family members.
- Limits on who the adverse party may interact with: A protective order often will specifically require the adverse party to stop the bad behavior that prompted the applicant to request the order to begin with. That may involve ordering the adverse party to stop behaving in a harassing, threatening, or intimidating way toward the applicant or toward another person (such as a member of the applicant’s family). It may also include a bar against contacting the applicant or others.
- Any other restrictions necessary to protect the applicant. The scope of what can be included in a protective order is limited only by the needs of the applicant to feel safe.
What is required to receive a protective order?
To obtain a protective order the applicant must submit a request to a court. The request must specify that the applicant reasonably believes that:
- he or she is the victim of a crime of stalking (defined in NRS 200.575), harassment (defined in NRS 200.571), or sexual assault (NRS 200.366), or
- his or her child has been the victim of a crime that is defined by the state as “harmful to minors,” such as nonaccidental physical or mental injury to a child, or sexual abuse. NRS 33.400.
A protection order may be temporary (with effect for 30 days) or extended (expiring no later than one year from its issuance date). The advantage of temporary protective orders is that they can be issued without involving the adverse party in the process. Although a court may require a hearing before issuing a temporary protective order, it is not a requirement and is often contrary to the purpose of a protective order. On the other hand, a court cannot issue an extended protective order without the adverse party being given notice and an opportunity to be heard.
The Nevada Supreme Court has issued a helpful, detailed guide to protection orders for the public.
GGRM is here to help victims of crime
At Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez we are proud of our firm’s long-standing commitment to providing compassionate, personal service to each of our clients. If you have questions about how a protective order could help you escape a dangerous situation our team is here to help. For a free, confidential attorney consultation, reach out to us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contacts page.