Stalking Protection Order
What is a Stalking Protection Order?
A Stalking Protection Order is a civil order issued by a court at the request of a victim of stalking or by someone else on his or her behalf.
What Can a Stalking Protection Order Do?
The order can require the person who stalked you to stay away from you, your home, school, work, or other places you frequent. The order can also prohibit the person who stalked you from contacting you.
Who Can Get a Stalking Protection Order?
Any person age 16 or older may petition for a Stalking Protection Order. In addition, parents, legal guardians or an adult with whom a child is residing may petition for a Stalking Protection Order on behalf of a child who is up to age 17. Finally, an interested person may file for a Stalking Protection Order on behalf of a vulnerable adult. If you are being stalked by a family or household member, you must apply instead for a Domestic Violence Protection Order.
What is Stalking?
Stalking occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct which involves repeated or continuing contacts, attempts to contact, monitoring, tracking, keeping under observation, or following of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel intimidated, frightened, or threatened and that actually causes such a feeling and serves no lawful purpose. In addition, the stalker must have known or reasonably should have known that the conduct threatened, frightened, or intimidated the other person, even if the stalker did not intend to intimidate, frighten, or threaten the person.
Stalking also occurs when a person intentionally and repeatedly harasses or repeatedly follows another person and that person is placed in fear that the stalker intends to injure him or her, another person, or property of the person or of another person. The feeling of fear must be one that a reasonable person in the same situation would experience and the stalker must either intend to frighten, intimidate, or harass the person or the stalker must reasonably know that the person is afraid, intimidated, or harassed.
Cyberstalking occurs when a person, with intent to harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass any other person, makes an electronic communication (not including a telephone call) to that other person, or through a third party, using any lewd, lascivious, indecent, or obscene words, images, or language, or suggesting the commission of any lewd or lascivious act and the electronic communication is made anonymously or repeatedly whether or not conversation occurs or the electronic communication contains a threat to inflict injury on the person or property of the person called or any member of his or her family or household.
How to Apply for a Stalking Protection Order
Step 1: Petition the Court
You can get the petition (application) for a Stalking Protection Order at the court or here . You must describe the stalking and you must swear under oath that the things you write in the petition are true. File the petition with the court clerk at your local District Court. It does not cost anything to seek a Stalking Protection Order.
Step 2: Appear for a Temporary Hearing
After you file the petition, the clerk will give your petition to a judge who will decide whether or not to give you a temporary order. The judge will ask you questions and you will need to answer truthfully under oath.
If you are given a temporary order, it will be good for two weeks. The court papers will state the time and date of the next hearing, which you must attend. If you are not given a temporary order, the judge will either a) dismiss your petition, finding that you are not eligible for a Stalking Protection Order; or b) give you a court date to come back in two weeks to ask again for an order when the respondent has an opportunity to be in court to respond to your allegations.
Step 3: Personal Service
The local police department or Sheriff’s office will help serve the respondent with notice to appear for the next court date. These papers have to be served personally on the respondent. If you do not know where the person can be located, you may not be able to get the full order. You will not be charged any money to have the respondent served.
Step 4: Appear for a Full Hearing
After two weeks, you will come back to court. If you do not appear, the court will dismiss the case and you will not be protected by an order. At the full hearing, both you and the respondent will be asked questions by the judge about the things you wrote in your petition. It is helpful to make a list of what you want to tell the judge and to bring copies of any important papers such as police reports. You may also want to bring witnesses or witness declarations. The judge will decide whether to give you a Stalking Protection Order, and will decide how long the order should last.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What should I do if the respondent violates my protection order?
- Call 911 immediately
- Keep a certified copy of the protection order with you at all times, and show the police the order when they arrive
- Can criminal charges be filed against the respondent?
- It is a crime to violate a Stalking Protection Order. In addition, the stalking behavior itself may be a crime. If you wish to have criminal charges filed, contact law enforcement to make a report of the stalking activity and/or of the violation of your Stalking Protection Order.