What to Know About Restraining Orders
A restraining order is an important tool in society. A restraining order creates a lawful court order that prevents a named person from threatening, harassing, and hurting others. It’s important to understand how restraining orders work and what you can do if you or someone you know may be involved in a case. Here’s what to know about restraining orders from our Las Vegas family law attorneys.
What Is a Civil Order of Protection?
A civil order of protection is a court order that directs a person to avoid going to certain places or talking to certain people. It’s a court document that has the full force of the courts and even law enforcement. The order protects an individual from the dangerous actions of another. A civil order of protection is also called a protective order or a restraining order.
Are Restraining Orders Criminal or Civil?
Restraining orders are civil. They’re brought by a person on their own behalf to prevent or restrict actions by another party. You’re not automatically guilty of a crime if there’s a restraining order against you. However, it’s a crime to violate a restraining order. Even though a restraining order is a civil order, there are criminal penalties if you violate one that’s in force against you. The court can put you in jail if you violate a restraining order.
How to Apply for a Restraining Order in Nevada
To apply for a restraining order in Nevada1, you prepare documents and file them with the court. You complete an application and a confidential information sheet. The application states what has happened and why you want the restraining order. A confidential information sheet gives the police the information that they need to enforce the order. Only the application becomes public record. The court may sign the restraining order based on the information that you give. Alternatively, they may schedule a hearing to decide the matter in an open forum.
Types of Restraining Orders in Nevada – Temporary Protective Order and Extended Protective Order
There are two types of restraining orders in Nevada2 – a Temporary Protective Order and an Extended Protective Order. A TPO can go into effect without a court hearing. The judge can issue a TPO based only on what an applicant has to say. The judge can schedule a hearing if they want more information. A TPO is valid for up to 30 days.
An Extended Protective Order is valid for up to one year. The court must schedule a hearing and listen to both sides before ruling on the EPO. An extended protective order may include provisions that relate to child support, rent, and family finances if appropriate in a domestic violence case.
What Kinds of Behavior Qualifies for a Restraining Order in Nevada?
There are five types of behavior that restraining orders stop in Nevada. They include:
- Harassment – Defined as a threat to cause bodily injury, actual property damage, a threat of restraint or any act intended to substantially harm the mental or physical health of another, along with the reasonable fear that the person will carry out their threat 3
- Stalking – A willful course of conduct that would make a reasonable person feel terrorized, frighted, harassed or intimidated 4
- Crimes against children – Child abuse or exploitation 5
- Sexual abuse – Includes sexual abuse and sexual exploitation 6
- Sexual assault – Defined under Nevada law as 7
What Can I Do If I’m Served With a Restraining Order?
If you’re served with a restraining order, you can ask the court to modify it or terminate it. You can request a hearing where you tell the judge your side of the story. If the judge agrees with you, they may change the conditions of the protective order, or they might cancel it altogether.
Because protective orders are often issued based on only one side of the story, moving to cancel or terminate the order can be an effective strategy. In addition, you might file a motion to modify the order to remove terms that are irrelevant or unfair. It’s up to you to attend the court hearing and present the arguments and evidence for why the court should change the order.
Can I Have an Attorney Represent Me at a Restraining Order Hearing?
Yes, you can have an attorney represent you at a restraining order hearing. Whether you are seeking a restraining order or defending against one, you may have representation from the attorney of your choice. Your attorney can question witnesses, present evidence, and speak to the court on your behalf.
Protective Order Violations in Nevada
A protective order violation in Nevada may result in jail or prison time. Depending on the type of protective order and the prohibited conduct, a violation may be a misdemeanor or a felony. You may serve up to one year in jail for a misdemeanor violation.
The maximum penalty for a felony violation is five years in prison. Simply facing a violation doesn’t mean that you get the maximum penalty. It’s up to the court to determine if you’re guilty and choose the appropriate sentence.
Defenses for Restraining Order Violations in Nevada
Of course, to receive a penalty for violating a restraining order in Nevada, you must be found guilty of violating the order. You have a right to a hearing. The other side must prove that you’re guilty of breaking the order beyond a reasonable doubt.
Insufficient evidence of a violation, accidents, misunderstandings, and a failure to notify you of the existence of the order can all be valid defenses for a restraining order violation. Any violation is a serious matter with the risk of jail time. It’s essential to prepare your defense vigorously.
Las Vegas Family Law Attorneys
Do you have questions about protective orders? We’re Las Vegas attorneys for protective orders, and we can help. Whether you’re filing for a protective order or you’re defending against one, our attorneys have what it takes to help you fight for justice and achieve your legal objectives. We invite you to meet with our friendly legal team. We offer immediate appointments, and we can help you file for your protective order or respond to an order the same day. Call us to begin immediately.
1Nevada Domestic Violence Protection Order Forms
2Clark County Protection Order Overview
3NRS 200.571 Harassment: Definition; penalties.
4 NRS 200.575 Stalking: Definitions; penalties; entry of finding in judgment of conviction or admonishment of rights.
5NRS 33.400 Parent or guardian authorized to petition for order on behalf of child; contents of order; appeal of extended order; penalty for violation of order.
6 NRS 432B.100 “Sexual abuse” defined ; NRS 432B.110 “Sexual exploitation” defined.
7NRS 200.366 Sexual assault: Definition; penalties; exclusions.
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