What Are Protective Orders?

A protective order is a civil order issued by the court to prohibit further acts of family violence or to prevent stalking, sexual assault or human trafficking. You may apply for a protective order through the county attorney, a private attorney, or legal aid. The application must be filed in the county in which either you or the offender resides or the county where the offense occurred.

Punishment and Restrictions

A violation of a protective order may be punishable by a fine of up to $2000, confinement in jail for as long as one year, or both.

A family violence protective order may be granted for up to two years. A sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking protective order may be granted for a lifetime. Protective orders may prohibit the respondent, or offender, from:
  • Committing family violence
  • Communicating a threat through another person
  • Going to or near the applicant’s residence, employment, school, or day care
  • Harassing, annoying, alarming, or following the applicant
  • Harming a pet
  • Possessing a firearm


In order to qualify for a protective order:
  • Abuse or threats of harm must have occurred to the victim within the last six months
    • Physical abuse includes hitting, pinching, slapping, pushing, punching, kicking, burning, stabbing, or shooting; it may also include threats to cause harm
    • Sexual abuse includes unwanted touching or sexual activity
  • If you have a divorce pending in our county, the protective order must be filed in the court where the divorce is pending
  • For family violence protective orders, the victim and respondent must be related by either blood or marriage, or be living in a household together, previously lived in a household together, or have a child together
  • For sexual assault, stalking or trafficking protective orders, the victim and respondent do not have to have a family connection
  • The victim must be able to provide an address where the respondent can be served with the temporary ex parte protective order and notice of hearing
The Applicant will be required to appear in court for the final hearing and may have to testify about the abuse.