The Purpose of Orders of Protection:

Orders of Protection are issued to promote the safety and protection of the victims of family member or partner assaults, victims of sexual assault, and the victims of other specific crimes.  Temporary Orders of Protection are authorized and based upon immediate need and the presence of danger.  They are not intended to apply to other circumstances which, while very stressful and upsetting, do not present a substantial danger of harm to you or someone else seeking protection.


*You Must Be A Partner Or A Family Member, Or The Victim Of A Specific Crime:

The law provides that only people in certain relationships or victims of certain crimes qualify for the issuance of an Order of Protection.  You must be an intimate partner or a present or past family member of the other party, or the victim of a designated crime.  Family members include in-laws, siblings, step children and their parents.  If the parties involved are pending any divorce and or child custody/visitation issues, it is best these matters be filed in the same court to avoid conflicting orders!


How to Apply for an Order of Protection:

You must fill out a Sworn Petition for Temporary Order of Protection and Request for Hearing (form attached).  It includes a nine (9) page packet that must be filled out completely as well as a two (2) page Law Enforcement Service Information (must be filled out completely in order for the Police Department to enter the Order into their database, and the Sheriff’s Civil Department to attempt service).  Once your packet is complete, you will need to appear in court any day, Monday-Friday, at 10:00 a.m. and testify before the Judge to the information you have included.    

If the Judge signs the Temporary Order of Protection, a hearing will be set within (20) days and the paperwork will be sent over to the Lewis & Clark County Sheriff’s Civil Department, who will attempt service.  *The Temporary Order of Protection is not valid (there cannot be a violation) until the Respondent has been served in person by Law Enforcement and only remains in effect until the date and time of the hearing!  To follow up on service, you can contact their office at 447-8219. 

The Petitioner’s personal appearance is required at the hearing in order for the matter to proceed.  The Respondent does not need to be present, but must have been served.  At the time of the hearing, the Judge will determine if a Permanent Order will be issued, and if so, for how long it will remain in effect (most commonly a year).