Arizona Restraining Orders

  1. Domestic Violence Orders of Protection

    1. Introduction

      In Arizona, restraining orders are called orders of protection or injunctions. These are court orders which are intended to protect victims from an abuser or harasser.

      Victims of nonconsensual online publication of sexually explicit material may be able to obtain a restraining order that prohibits the perpetrator from continuing to harass the victim online. In Arizona, a victim can petition for an order of protection if the victim has a “family” relationship with the defendant. This can include any of the following: 1) married now or in the past; 2) living together now or lived together in the past; 3) parent of a child in common; 4) one is pregnant by the other; 5) victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law or sister-in-law; or 6) current or previous romantic or sexual relationship.

    2. Text of Statute

        1) Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3602(A)

          A person may file a verified petition, as in civil actions, with a magistrate, justice of the peace or superior court judge for an order of protection for the purpose of restraining a person from committing an act included in domestic violence. 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 G of this section. If a person is either temporarily or permanently unable to request an order, a third party may request an order of protection 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. For the purposes of this section, notwithstanding the location of the plaintiff or defendant, any court in this state may issue or enforce an order of protection.

        2) Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3602(E)

          The court shall review the petition, any other pleadings on file and any evidence offered by the plaintiff, including any evidence of harassment by electronic contact or communication, to determine whether the orders requested should issue without further hearing. The court shall issue an order of protection under subsection G of this section if the court determines that there is reasonable cause to believe any of the following:

            1. The defendant may commit an act of domestic violence.

            2. The defendant has committed an act of domestic violence within the past year or within a longer period of time if the court finds that good cause exists to consider a longer period.

        3) Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3602(G)

          If a court issues an order of protection, the court may do any of the following:

            1. Enjoin the defendant from committing a violation of one or more of the offenses included in domestic violence.

            2. Grant one party the use and exclusive possession of the parties' residence on a showing that there is reasonable cause to believe that physical harm may otherwise result. If the other party is accompanied by a law enforcement officer, the other party may return to the residence on one occasion to retrieve belongings. A law enforcement officer is not liable for any act or omission in the good faith exercise of the officer's duties under this paragraph.

            3. Restrain the defendant from contacting the plaintiff or other specifically designated persons and from coming near the residence, place of employment or school of the plaintiff or other specifically designated locations or persons on a showing that there is reasonable cause to believe that physical harm may otherwise result.

            4. If the court finds that the defendant is a credible threat to the physical safety of the plaintiff or other specifically designated persons, prohibit the defendant from possessing or purchasing a firearm for the duration of the order. If the court prohibits the defendant from possessing a firearm, the court shall also order the defendant to transfer any firearm owned or possessed by the defendant immediately after service of the order to the appropriate law enforcement agency for the duration of the order. If the defendant does not immediately transfer the firearm, the defendant shall transfer the firearm within twenty-four hours after service of the order.

            5. If the order was issued after notice and a hearing at which the defendant had an opportunity to participate, require the defendant to complete a domestic violence offender treatment program that is provided by a facility approved by the department of health services or a probation department or any other program deemed appropriate by the court.

            6. Grant relief that is necessary for the protection of the alleged victim and other specifically designated persons and that is proper under the circumstances.

            7. Grant the petitioner the exclusive care, custody or control of any animal that is owned, possessed, leased, kept or held by the petitioner, the respondent or a minor child residing in the residence or household of the petitioner or the respondent, and order the respondent to stay away from the animal and forbid the respondent from taking, transferring, encumbering, concealing, committing an act of cruelty or neglect in violation of § 13-2910 or otherwise disposing of the animal.

    3. Cases

      1. Cardoso v. Soldo, 277 P.3d 811 (Ct. App. 2012)
        • Procedural Posture: Ex-wife sought to revoke an order of protection that barred her from having any contact with ex-husband. The superior court denied ex-wife's motion and instead continued the order of protection. Ex-wife appealed.
        • Law: Order of protection barring contact with ex-spouse
        • Facts: The ex-husband testified that the ex-wife had engaged in “complete unrelentless harassment” through text and e-mail messages. He had told her to stop sending him messages, yet he received “hundreds” of messages from her thereafter. He further explained that although the messages did not specifically state she was going to “come kill” him, she made threatening statements such as “I know where you live, I know where [the third party] works, I'm going to get the last laugh.” The third party also testified she had received text messages that stated “you scumbag, die already, and things like that.”
        • Outcome: The court held that evidence was sufficient to support a continuance of an order of protection.
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  2. Injunctions Against Harassment

    1. Introduction

      An injunction against harassment (IAH) is a civil order that can be issued against someone who is harassing or abusing you (i.e., neighbors, friends, landlords, etc.) where the victim and defendant do not have a “family” relationship.

    2. Text of Statute

      1) Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-1809(A)

      2) Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-1809(E)

      3) Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-1809(F)

      4) Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-1809(S)

      1. 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.

          The court shall review the petition, any other pleadings on file and any evidence offered by the plaintiff, including any evidence of harassment by electronic contact or communication, to determine whether the injunction requested should issue without a further hearing. Rules 65(a)(1) and 65(e) of the Arizona rules of civil procedure do not apply to injunctions that are requested pursuant to this section. If the court finds reasonable evidence of harassment of the plaintiff by the defendant during the year preceding the filing of the petition or that good cause exists to believe that great or irreparable harm would result to the plaintiff if the injunction is not granted before the defendant or the defendant's attorney can be heard in opposition and the court finds specific facts attesting to the plaintiff's efforts to give notice to the defendant or reasons supporting the plaintiff's claim that notice should not be given, the court shall issue an injunction as provided for in subsection F of this section. If the court denies the requested relief, it may schedule a further hearing within ten days with reasonable notice to the defendant. For the purposes of determining the one year period, any time that the defendant has been incarcerated or out of this state shall not be counted.

            If the court issues an injunction, the court may do any of the following:

            1. 1. Enjoin the defendant from committing a violation of one or more acts of harassment.

              2. Restrain the defendant from contacting the plaintiff or other specifically designated persons and from coming near the residence, place of employment or school of the plaintiff or other specifically designated locations or persons.

              3. Grant relief necessary for the protection of the alleged victim and other specifically designated persons proper under the circumstances.

              For the purposes of this section, “harassment” means 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 § 23-1321 and defamation in violation of § 23-1325.

            2. Cases

              1. Reel Precision, Inc. v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., No. CV-15-02660-PHX-NVW, 2016 WL 4194533 (D. Ariz. Aug. 9, 2016) (unpublished)
                • Procedural Posture: Defendant moved to dismiss various claims including one for harassment under Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-1809(S).
                • Law: Harassment/restraining order
                • Facts: Manager at FedEx facility had a policy of requiring that, when a driver is involved in a vehicle accident, the driver must personally change an electronic sign displaying the number of days since the last accident. The walk to the sign was observable by others and called the “walk of shame.” Plaintiff was required to engage in this walk and filed suit, asserting various claims including Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-1809(S) for harassment.
                • Outcome: The court dismissed the harassment claim under section 12-1809(S), as “harassment” must be a series of activities and cannot be a single occurrence, and the court found that there was only one “walk of shame,” not a series.
            3. Practice Pointers

              According to Reel Precision, a petitioner needs to show repeated conduct to get an injunction against harassment. See also LaFaro v. Cahill, 56 P.3d 56, 60 (Ct. App. 2002) for proposition that a “series of acts” is required. Accordingly, to petition for an injunction against harassment, a WMC victim would likely need to show more than one publication of a recording.

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