INJUNCTIONS AGAINST HARRASSMENT
Injunction issued by the Court to prevent the defendant from harassing the plaintiff
In contrast to an Order of Protection, Injunctions Against Harassment are issued if parties are not in a familial relationship
WHAT CONSTITUTES HARASSMENT?
A.R.S. § 12-1809(S) defines "harassment" as “a series of acts over any period of time that is directed at a specific person and that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed, and the conduct in fact seriously alarms, annoys or harasses the person and serves no legitimate purpose. Harassment includes unlawful picketing, trespassory assembly, unlawful mass assembly, concerted interference with lawful exercise of business activity and engaging in a secondary boycott as defined in section 23-1321 and defamation in violation of section 23-1325.
ARIZONA’S INJUNCTION AGAINST HARASSMENT STATUTE
12-1809. Injunction against harassment
A. A person may file a verified petition with a magistrate, justice of the peace or superior court judge for an injunction prohibiting harassment. If the person is a minor, the parent, legal guardian or person who has legal custody of the minor shall file the petition unless the court determines otherwise. The petition shall name the parent, guardian or custodian as the plaintiff, and the minor is a specifically designated person for the purposes of subsection F of this section. If a person is either temporarily or permanently unable to request an injunction, a third party may request an injunction on behalf of the plaintiff. After the request, the judicial officer shall determine if the third party is an appropriate requesting party for the
plaintiff. Notwithstanding the location of the plaintiff or defendant, any court in this state may issue or enforce an injunction against harassment.
B. An injunction against harassment shall not be granted:
1. Unless the party who requests the injunction files a written verified petition for injunction.
2. Against a person who is less than twelve years of age unless the injunction is granted by the juvenile division of the superior court.
3. Against more than one defendant.
C. The petition shall state all of the following:
1. The name of the plaintiff. The plaintiff's address shall be disclosed to the court for purposes of service. If the address of the plaintiff is unknown to the defendant, the plaintiff may request that the address be protected. On the plaintiff's request, the address shall not be listed on the petition. Whether the court issues an injunction against harassment, the protected address shall be maintained in a separate document or automated database and is not subject to release or disclosure by the court or any form of public access except as ordered by the court.
2. The name and address, if known, of the defendant.
3. A specific statement showing events and dates of the acts constituting the alleged harassment.
4. The name of the court in which there was or is any prior or pending proceeding or order concerning the conduct that is sought to be restrained.
5. The relief requested.
OBTAINING AN INJUNCTION AGAINST HARASSMENT
In order to obtain an Injunction Against Harassment, the plaintiff must present the following to the court:
The defendant’s personal information such as an address, phone number, employers contact information, the defendant’s name, address, phone number, and the like;
Evidence sufficient to support the contention that a reasonable person would feel as if they were being harassed. Evidence can come in the form of medical records, police reports, phone records, e- mails, or any other evidence which shows a pattern of harassment.
Once the petition has been heard, a judicial officer reviews the petition and the plaintiff provides sworn testimony. The defendant does not need to be present during this initial process if the judge believes that the evidence is sufficient. If the evidence is sufficient, the permanent Injunction Against Harassment will be granted for the period of a year. If the judge does not believe that the plaintiff has provided sufficient evidence, a hearing may be scheduled within ten days and the defendant is able to attend.
HOW DO I OBTAIN AN INJUNCTION AGAINST HARASSMENT ON MY OWN?
STEP 1-Consult an attorney if possible.
Consulting a lawyer can make an already very stressful process much easier. Attorneys can help you fill out forms and advise you on which protective order is appropriate to your situation. If you cannot afford an attorney, visiting a free legal clinic like the Arizona Legal Center is a great place to start. Volunteers are available be able to walk you through the process and explain your rights under the law. Your county court may also have suggestions for free legal advice. Another option is to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for legal support and recommendations if your situation
involves domestic violence.
STEP 2: Fill out the appropriate forms. Injunction Against Harassment forms are available in five languages and can be filed in any superior, municipal or justice court regardless of where you live in Arizona. The Courts are opened generally from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. When you enter the court, go to the Clerk of the Court’s counter, Self Service Center, or protection order window and tell the clerk you are requesting an Injunction Against Harassment .
In Maricopa County, the courts have made obtaining an Injunction Against Harassment very simple. You will fill out the required paperwork using a computerized Domestic Violence prompt system. This paperwork will include a
petition. The petition names all protected parties. They system will prompt you to list the reasons why you are seeking a restraining order. As long as you bring with you the above listed information, filling out the requisite form should be relatively simple, and generally takes less than 30 minutes.
It is very important to note, however, that Courts only have limited jurisdiction. For example, if you obtain an Injunction Against Harassment in Scottsdale, such Order is only valid in the Scottsdale City Limits. It is best to obtain an Order in the Superior Court, or in Maricopa County, or the county in which you reside, so that the Order is Valid throughout the
County, and not just in the City of Scottsdale. At this time, there are no interstate Orders of Protection, although there are a number of federal
statutes that provide protection across state lines.
STEP 3: Appear before a judge. After you file the paperwork, you will appear before a judge to answer questions regarding your petition. They may ask you questions about specific incidents in the petition. This part of the process can be emotionally difficult. If possible, bringing someone to support you in court can be crucial.
STEP 4: Serve the Injunction Against Harassment . If the judge grants the restraining order, legally you must notify the defendant. You will serve them with the Petition for the Injunction Against Harassment and a copy of the signed Injunction Against Harassment through a process server or a member of law enforcement. The Injunction is not valid until it is served upon the defendant.
You have one year to serve the defendant before the Injunction is invalid. In Phoenix, if you know where the defendant is located, the Protective Orders Coordinator will work with the Phoenix Police Department to serve the Injunction on your behalf at no charge to you. If the defendant cannot be served immediately, it is important to keep a copy of the signed Injunction Against Harassment with you at all times. If the defendant approaches you before the order is served, call 911 and let them know that you have an Injunction Against Harassment against the defendant.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GET AN INJUNCTION AGAINST HARASSMENT ?
There is no fee to file an Injunction Against Harassment in a court in the state of Arizona. If you choose to hire a private process server, expect to pay between $45 and $100.
HOW DO I DEFEND AGAINST A FRIVIOLOUS INJUNCTION AGAINST HARASSMENT
Injunctions are granted on an ex parte basis (only one of the parties was present when the Order was granted). A Defendant has the opportunity to contest the Injunction Against Harassment, however, by requesting a hearing within ten days of service of the Order.
At the hearing the plaintiff carries the burden of proving that the defendant engaged in a pattern of harassment in the last year or that the Defendant is likely to commit an action of domestic violence in the next year. Acts that occurred more than a year ago may only be considered only if there is good cause.
The plaintiff is only permitted to present evidence to the Court regarding allegations that are specifically stated in the Petition for Injunction Against Harassment . The defendant will have the opportunity to cross-examine the plaintiff and any of plaintiff’s witnesses, and the defendant will have the opportunity to testify on his/her own behalf as well as present his/her own witnesses. Each party is also allowed to present documents as evidence to the judge. The rules regarding the admission of evidence in Injunction Against Harassment Hearings allow all relevant evidence to be presented with only limited exceptions. Examples of evidence that can be used are: police reports, DCS/CPS records, previous Orders of Protection, criminal records, pictures of injuries, text messages, and emails. If you plan to use an audio recording or video, most courts require the audio/video to be on a separate CD or jump drive that can be played on a device in the courtroom but also retained by the judge for future use (and admission into evidence).
Upon the close of evidence and argument, the judge or commissioner will decide whether to: (1) keep the Injunction Against Harassment in place as it is; (2) keep the Injunction Against Harassment in place but modify its terms; or (3) dismiss or quash the Injunction Against Harassment all together. If the Injunction Against Harassment is upheld, it will continue to be in effect for a period of one (1) year after it was served. If the Court dismisses the Injunction Against Harassment, there will be no additional restrictions on contact between the parties, although it is typically advisable for the Defendant to keep a safe distance from the Plaintiff to avoid any future issues.
If an Injunction Against Harassment is upheld after a hearing, the Defendant will be prohibited from possessing firearms for the remainder of the time the order is in effect regardless of whether a prohibition on firearms was contained in the original order.
For further information, or questions about Injunctions Against Harrassment, please contact Adams & Associates, PLC at 480 219 1366, or E-mail Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org.