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Questioning Your Safety? Get an Ex Parte Restraining Order

Questioning Your Safety? Get an Ex Parte Restraining Order



Questioning Your Safety? Get an Ex Parte Restraining Order

People have different reactions when they are staring at the prospect of getting divorced. Many accept the decision of their partner and cooperate, while others may react that warrants taking out an ex parte restraining order.

The hope is that you never end up in a situation where you must take out a restraining order to feel safe. Still, it won’t hurt to know about the process of requesting one.

In this article, we’ll talk at length about restraining orders. We’ll discuss ex parte restraining orders and how they are different from the standard orders. You’ll also pick up tips regarding how to file for a restraining order and how to proceed with it.

What Is a Restraining Order?

Before we can dive into the numerous topics concerning ex parte restraining orders, let’s clarify what the order itself is for. In the state of Arizona, restraining orders are known officially as protective orders.

The purpose of a restraining order is to prevent a specific person from committing domestic violence against another person or persons. The actions taken by the person named don’t have to go that far for the order to take effect, though. Protective orders are also supposed to shield individuals from acts of harassment carried out by their assailants.

It’s important to clearly define what a protective order can and cannot do.

First, you should know that restraining orders do not guarantee your safety. However, they can improve the level of safety you can have at home, the office, or school. If the order indicates that a specific person is not allowed to go near your home, office, school, or other places listed, they must abide by that.

What the protective order also does is provide you with a way to take legal action right away. If the party named in the order violates the terms, they will be held accountable by the law.

Restraining orders in Arizona are valid for one year from the original date of service. Do note, though, that the protective order will expire automatically if it isn’t served within one year.

restraining order paperwork

How Does an Ex Parte Restraining Order Differ from a Standard Restraining Order?

Standard restraining orders and ex parte restraining order are similar in terms of what they are supposed to accomplish. They are also often requested for the same reasons.

The main difference between them is how quickly they may take effect.

Typically, when you file a petition for a protective order, the court will not grant it right away. Instead, what the court will do is notify the person named as the respondent in the protective order. The petitioner and the respondent will then have opportunities to present their evidence.

After both parties present their evidence, the court will then decide whether to grant the protective order.

The issue with that process is that it can take a bit of time. If you are genuinely fearful for your safety and afraid of what the other party is capable of, every second you’re left vulnerable can make a huge difference. You may not even feel comfortable going to work or school due to the possibility that the other party is waiting there.

As much as possible, you want the protective order to take effect right away. That’s what the ex parte restraining order is for.

Once granted, the ex parte restraining order can take effect without a hearing.

The party named in the protective order will still be contacted, but the notification they receive will be a bit different. They will be notified that a protective order has been enforced against them and they will be told that they can respond during a hearing that will be set on a later date.

When Are Ex Parte Restraining Orders Granted?

The courts don’t usually like making rulings when only one side can present their case. Fairness is important, after all, and everyone should have a chance to plead their case before the courts make important rulings.

Judges are willing to make exceptions for ex parte restraining orders.

The main reason why judges grant this protective order is that they believe that the petitioner is facing an imminent threat of physical harm posed by the other party. If the judge believes that not implementing the protective order right away could genuinely endanger the petitioner’s life, it will likely be granted and served as soon as possible.

How Soon Does an Ex Parte Restraining Order Take Effect?

Let’s say that you’ve already requested an ex parte restraining order against your former spouse, and the judge granted it. Does that mean it will take effect right away? The answer to that question depends on how quickly they serve the order.

Being granted an ex parte restraining order means that the participation of the other side is not needed for the order to become effective. However, the respondent must still receive the order properly before it can take effect. The police or an authorized process server typically serves the protective orders.

Given how important serving the order is, you must be certain that you are giving accurate information to the court. The protective order can take effect sooner if the servers have an easier time finding the other party.

How Do You Request an Ex Parte Restraining Order?

The process of requesting an ex parte restraining order is pretty much the same as filing for a standard restraining order.

To get the process started, you must head to the nearest court in your area. All the courts in the state of Arizona can review and rule on protective orders, so you don’t have to worry about traveling a great distance. Notably, though, the process for requesting a protective order may vary slightly depending on the court, so call ahead of time to ask about it if you can.

Once you’ve reached the court in your area, go ahead, and speak to the court staff.

The court staff will provide you with instructions regarding how to proceed with your petition. Likely, they will ask you to fill out some paperwork.

Examples of the details they will request from you include the name, address, and birthdate of the respondent. They may also ask you if there are prior court filings that exist which involve you and the other person. The court may ask you to provide the address and contact information of the place where they must serve the protective order.

Be as accurate and detailed as you can be when providing those bits of information. Remember that the protective order can only take effect once the courts serve it. Providing accurate information will allow the other party to receive it in a shorter amount of time.

The judge will review all the paperwork you have submitted. After that, you will likely have an opportunity to speak with the judge. You and the judge can discuss your request for an ex parte restraining order in detail during that conversation.

It usually doesn’t take the court a long time to hand out rulings regarding restraining orders. Petitions are often received, reviewed, and ruled upon within the same day.

What Happens after Requesting an Ex Parte Restraining Order?

Assuming that the court did grant your petition and the person you filed against has received it, what happens next? The ball is now in the other party’s court. They will have a chance to appeal the protective order.

The respondent can request a hearing any time before the expiration of the restraining order. As soon as they let the court know that they want to appeal; the courts will set a hearing.  Often, the hearing for the protective order will take place within ten days after the other party’s response.

You will also learn about the hearing, and you must attend.

What Can You Expect During the Hearing?

Upon learning when the hearing will take place, you need to prepare. Gather all the evidence you can to show that they should convert the restraining order into a permanent restraining order.

As for the hearing itself, it can go in different directions, according to LegalZoom.

The respondent may object to the ex parte restraining order. You and the respondent must then present your evidence to the court, and a trial will commence. The judge will review the evidence and hand down a ruling.

The judge can decide to cancel or convert the temporary order into a permanent one based on the evidence presented by both sides.

Now, if the respondent shows up for the hearing but doesn’t contest the ruling, the protective order will likely become permanent. The ex parte restraining order may also become permanent if the respondent doesn’t show up during the hearing.

Can an Ex Parte Restraining Order Be Dismissed?

There are three ways to get an ex parte restraining order dismissed. Let’s talk about them below.

The Court Rules against You after the Hearing

The hearing allows you and the respondent to show why the protective order should remain or be dismissed. If the respondent makes a more compelling case and gets the court to rule in their favor, they will likely dismiss the protective order.

You Failed to Show Up to the Hearing

The respondent failing to show up to the hearing will often lead to the temporary restraining order becoming permanent. You failing to appear at the hearing will have the opposite effect. The judge will likely dismiss the restraining order if you don’t show up.

You Requested to Have the Restraining Order Dismissed

It is possible to have a protective order voluntarily dismissed. To do so, you as the petitioner must go to the Protective Orders Office.

Bring an ID with you and fill out the paperwork that they give you. The judge will dismiss the order after you finish the paperwork.

How Is an Ex Parte Restraining Order Enforced?

Enforcing a restraining order is not as simple as you might have assumed.

There are cases where the person who violated the restraining order also committed a crime in the process. In a scenario such as that, you can call the police, and they will act against the person who violated the restraining order.

It’s a bit more complicated if they have not committed a crime. You can still call the police, but they can only help you file a police report. The police cannot act against the other party because they did not commit a crime.

What you can do is head to court to file a complaint. Indicate that you want the other party held in contempt of court. They should schedule a hearing after that.

During the hearing, you must present evidence proving that they violated the order. The other party may object to that and present their evidence.

If the court rules in your favor, the other party may need to pay for your attorney’s fees and related costs. They will then have a chance to purge their contempt of court by performing certain tasks.

The court may opt not to take any additional actions if the offending party completes those tasks. If the offending party does not finish those tasks, they may be fined or imprisoned.

Can You Extend the Duration of a Restraining Order?

Extending the duration of a protective order is possible if the other party violated it. Go to the court once again and file a request to have the restraining order extended. They will tell you how to proceed from there.

It’s possible that another hearing will be necessary.

Now, if the restraining order has expired and the other party did something again that is causing you to believe that you are facing an imminent threat, you can file a request for a new order.

Filing for an ex parte restraining order can be a complicated undertaking. Seeking legal assistance before filing your petition is a good idea. Contact us at the Schill Law Group and allow us to help you make your case to the judge.

Accused of Domestic Violence? Here’s What You Need to Know

Defending the People of Arizona

With more than 100 Years of combined experience

Accused of Domestic Violence? Here’s What You Need to Know

Being accused of domestic violence in Arizona is a big deal. Although the word “domestic” may seem to soften the allegation, the truth is that courts view domestic violence as a serious offense and the penalties can be severe, ranging from misdemeanor to felony charges. Although being faced with such charges can be stressful, it’s important to keep your cool. Understanding what constitutes domestic violence in Arizona and the process of building up a defense and going through the court system will help you get through this difficult time a little easier. Here’s a quick primer on what you need to know about domestic violence in Arizona.

Understanding What Constitutes “Domestic” Violence

Throughout the years of working on domestic violence cases, the team at Schill Law Group has encountered many individuals who are confused by the term. As an example, an accused individual may not believe that his (or her) act should be considered “domestic” violence because the accuser is not his spouse. In reality, there are many different scenarios which can be considered domestic violence. In addition to violent acts occurring between spouses, the state of Arizona views the following types of situations to be domestic violence:

  • When the parties were formerly married.
  • When the parties have a child together or the alleged victim is pregnant with the accused’s child.
  • The parties are related by blood or by law.
  • The parties live in the same household or formerly lived in the same home.
  • The parties are involved in a romantic or sexual relationship.
  • Other similar situations as determined by law enforcement and/or the court system.

By this definition, acts of domestic violence can be carried out against siblings, children, boyfriends/girlfriends, or even in-law parents. Knowing this will help you understand why you have been accused of domestic violence and whether or not the charge is correct for your case. Be sure to inform your attorney of the exact nature of your relationship with the alleged victim so that your attorney can build the best argument for your defense.

Types of Domestic Violence

Assuming that the above criteria are met for a domestic relationship between an alleged victim and the accused, there are a number of offenses that are considered to be domestic violence. In fact, under ARS 13-3601, there are 29 different types of offenses that qualify. Again, understanding the different offenses can help you determine whether or not you have been wrongfully accused or if you are being falsely charged of domestic violence. Some of the many types of domestic violence offenses that are prosecuted in Arizona include:

  • Negligent homicide
  • Manslaughter
  • First and Second Degree Murder
  • Endangerment
  • Threats/Intimidation
  • Assault/Aggravated Assault
  • Custodial Interference
  • Sexual Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Unlawful Imprisonment
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Criminal Damage
  • Unlawful Distribution of Images

Understanding the Penalties for Domestic Violence

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” penalty for domestic violence in Arizona. The Arizona court system views each unique case carefully in order to determine how to proceed with criminal charges. The prosecution will gather the facts and, if he or she believes there is enough evidence against you to proceed, they will decide whether to charge you with a misdemeanor or felony.

Because the range of penalties is so great, and can include everything from fines to anger management classes to time in jail or prison, it’s critical that you hire an experienced attorney who can evaluate the specific facts as they pertain to your case and build the best argument in your defense.

If you or a loved one have been accused of domestic violence, we urge you to seek legal counsel immediately. Having an experienced attorney on your side can help you build the best case for your unique circumstances and ease your stress during this time of crisis. Contact the team at Schill Law Group for a free case evaluation today.

5 Steps to Take After Experiencing Domestic Violence

Defending the People of Arizona

With more than 100 Years of combined experience

5 Steps to Take After Experiencing Domestic Violence

Sadly, domestic violence continues to be a problem in Arizona. Domestic violence occurs whenever any form of abuse or violence is committed by one family or “household” member against another. This may also extend to relationships where the abuser and the victim don’t live together currently but have previously resided together, have had a child together, or are currently in a sexual or romantic relationship with one another. Regardless of the circumstances, however, if you believe you are a victim of domestic violence, it is imperative that you take action immediately. Here are five important steps to take after experiencing domestic violence:

Step 1 – Leave Quietly

In any situation where you feel the threat of domestic abuse or have experienced domestic abuse, it is crucial that you remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. If you have children with you, you will also need to remove them from the home. This step should be taken as swiftly and quietly as you can. Never alert your abuser to the fact that you are planning to leave. In the experience of the team at Schill Law Group, most abusers will try to prevent you from exiting the situation or from taking your children away from the scene if they are given an opportunity to do so. This means that you should not verbally tell your abuser that you plan to leave, you should not write a note, and you should not post your plans to social media.

Step 2 – Contact the Authorities

As soon as you are safely away from the domestic violence situation, you need to contact your local Arizona law enforcement agency. The police can respond to your abuser in the appropriate manner in order to ensure that the safety of you, your children, or any other victims will not be compromised going forward.

Step 3 – Seek Legal Representation

After the police have been notified of the domestic violence event and have responded, you will need to enlist the help of an experienced domestic violence attorney. Make sure that the attorney you choose has worked on Arizona domestic violence cases in the past and understands the ins and outs of Arizona law. The legal team should also be able to help you secure any necessary restraining orders or to help you with cases pertaining to child visitation and custody after domestic violence.

Step 4 – Document Everything

In order to achieve a favorable outcome in court, you will need to document everything after domestic violence occurs. By the time you see a judge, any physical evidence of physical abuse will have diminished, so it’s in your best interest to take photos and/or videos of any injuries you have sustained. A written or recorded verbal documentation of what happened can also help keep your memory fresh and clear in court. This will also assist your attorney in building the best case for you.

Step 5 – Seek Therapy

Domestic violence can take a serious toll on your mental and emotional well-being. It’s a good idea to see a licensed therapist or to join a domestic violence support group after being victimized by domestic violence or abuse. Taking care of yourself in this way is a crucial part of long-term healing.

The state of Arizona takes domestic violence crimes very seriously. The Schill Law Group has years of experience in working on domestic violence cases and can help you through this difficult time. Don’t wait to get the assistance you need. Reach out to our offices to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation today.

Domestic Violence: What Kind of Relationship is “Domestic”?

Defending the People of Arizona

With more than 100 Years of combined experience

Domestic Violence: What Kind of Relationship is “Domestic”?

The term “domestic violence” has gotten quite a bit of hype in recent years. Several high profile abuse cases have turned the public attention to these types of crimes. Despite all of the press, however, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that domestic violence is a serious criminal charge with very real criminal and civil consequences. As such, it’s important to understand what domestic violence actually entails. Today’s post will explore what is required under Arizona law for an act of violence to be deemed “domestic,” as well as the potential ramifications.

Domestic Violence Defined

Different states may have slightly different interpretations of what domestic violence actually is. Here in the state of Arizona, the definition of domestic violence is laid out in Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3601. Here, the law determines that domestic violence is any type of criminal act involving violence (or the threat of violence) against a family member, a significant other, or, in certain situations, an acquaintance. Schill Law Group has worked with many clients who were unfortunately dragged into domestic violence cases because of the nature of their relationships with the people they know. The following list outlines the scenarios in which domestic violence charges can be applied:

  • The parties involved are married, were formally married, reside in the same household currently, or formerly resided in the same household.
  • The accused and the alleged victim have a mutual child.
  • The alleged victim is carrying the child of the accused.
  • The alleged victim and the accused are related either by blood or by law.
  • The accused resides in the same home as a minor victim and is either related by blood, by law, or by a prior spouse.
  • The parties involved are involved either romantically or sexually.

In addition to this list, there are other circumstances which may move a court to treat the case as domestic violence. Here, a court will take certain factors into consideration, such as:

  • The nature of the relationship between both parties.
  • The length of the relationship between the victim and the accused.
  • The frequency with which the victim and the accused interacted.
  • Whether or not the relationship is ongoing or has been terminated. If terminated, the court will consider how much time has passed since the termination.

Because the breadth of the definition of domestic violence is so extensive, these cases can quickly become quite complicated. Domestic violence is a serious charge, and those who have been accused can find themselves in situations where they will face severe penalties because of a technicality. Consequently, it’s of the utmost importance that you seek legal representation immediately if you are ever accused of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence in Arizona: Felony vs Misdemeanor

In Arizona, a domestic violence case may be treated as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. ARS 13-3601 shows that domestic violence can include 29 different types of offenses, ranging from negligent homicide to adult abuse. While a domestic offense involving related endangerment could result in a class 1 misdemeanor, for instance, a domestic violence case involving related disorderly conduct with a weapon could be classed as a felony. Once again, it’s very important that you have a skilled attorney on your team who understands the different types of charges involved with domestic violence cases and who can fight on your behalf.

Throughout the years, the Schill Law Group has worked hard to defend countless Arizonans who have been accused of domestic violence offenses. We understand the ins and outs of Arizona law and have what it takes to build the best case for you. Please give us a call right away for a free case evaluation and to start building your defense today.

Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence? Here’s What to Do

Defending the People of Arizona

With more than 100 Years of combined experience

Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence? Here’s What to Do

A domestic violence charge is not to be taken lightly. Whether the case is being treated as a misdemeanor or a felony offense, those accused of domestic violence could face serious consequences, including jail times, hefty fines, domestic violence classes, community service, a loss of certain rights and privileges, and a criminal record. Being falsely accused of domestic violence, though, can be a living nightmare. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence and you are innocent of the claims, the time to act is now.

Why Are People Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?

Although it’s unfortunate, it’s not that uncommon for Arizona residents to be forced to defend themselves against false accusations of domestic violence. There are a number of reasons why an accuser might take on the victim role and falsely accuse someone. Throughout the years, the attorneys at Schill Law Group have seen it all. One of the most common reasons why this happens is that an ex-spouse or partner is using these malicious claims as an attempt to gain the upper hand in a divorce and/or child custody case. The ex could be hoping to gain more financially from a divorce settlement or to gain sole custody of your child in an act of vengeance. In other instances, a jealous or vengeful ex might be using domestic violence claims as a means of “getting even” after a nasty breakup. Also, any family members or individuals living with you could attempt to use a false domestic violence claim as a means of getting back at you for a quarrel, or as a means of obtaining financial gains.

What Types of False Domestic Violence Allegations May Be Made?

In addition to there being a number of reasons why an individual might be motivated to make false claims of domestic abuse, there are many ways in which a “victim” may present their case. This is important because, depending on what the accuser is insinuating, you as the accused could be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony. While the threat of violence without the presence of a weapon could result in a misdemeanor case, for instance, should your accuser state that you threatened their life with a weapon, you could be hit with a felony charge. If it is insinuated that sexual violence occurred, or that violence against a child took place, you could face harsher penalties than in other scenarios.

How Can a Defense Be Built for a False Domestic Violence Case?

Being falsely accused of a crime can feel pretty lonely and very hopeless. You may feel like no one believes that you are innocent and that there’s no way to prove that your accuser is being dishonest. This is why it’s so important to immediately secure the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney like the team at Schill Law Group. We are able to take a look at your case thoroughly and objectively to determine the underlying motives behind your accuser’s false claims of domestic violence. Understanding these motives and looking at the accusations from all angles can help us prove to a jury that your accuser is not being truthful, and why they are behaving in this manner. By painting this type of picture for a judge or jury, we are able to gain the sympathy and trust of your peers and make the best case in your defense.

If you or someone you love has been falsely accused of domestic violence, you should never wait to take legal action. The sooner you can secure legal representation, the better your chances of fighting the case and protecting yourself. Contact the team at Schill Law Group to get started today.

Your Guide to Arizona Domestic Violence Law

Defending the People of Arizona

With more than 100 Years of combined experience

Your Guide to Arizona Domestic Violence Law

Domestic violence is one of the most misunderstood aspects of Arizona criminal law. While domestic violence cases are, unfortunately, rather common throughout the state, many Arizonans are unclear about what domestic violence actually is and carry numerous misconceptions about it. In order to clear the air, we have dedicated this post to debunking some of the most prevalent myths about Arizona domestic violence by exploring the facts.

Myth: Only women can be victims of AZ domestic violence.

Fact: While many people believe that women are the sole victims of domestic violence, this is simply not the case. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have been subject to some form of physical violence by a partner. Schill Law Group has defended both men and women in Arizona domestic violence cases.

Myth: Domestic violence isn’t very common.

Fact: The NCADV states that domestic violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime, and that, on average, domestic violence hotlines receive 21K calls per day. While that may seem like a lot, and any amount of domestic violence should be considered a cause for concern, its prevalence is often greatly exaggerated.

Myth: If my significant other chooses not to prosecute, the State won’t be able to charge me with a domestic violence crime.

Fact: In the state of Arizona, the decision regarding whether or not to arrest an individual and charge him or her with a domestic violence crime is solely up to the discretion of the police and prosecutors. The State will certainly consider the opinions and feelings of an alleged victim, but charges can still be filed, even when an alleged victim has requested that no one be charged.

Myth: If the alleged victim refuses to appear in court, the case will be dropped.

Fact: The State of Arizona is able to serve an alleged victim with a subpoena that orders them to appear in court – even if he or she does not want to offer testimony against you.

Myth: I can’t be prosecuted for domestic violence because I didn’t actually touch anyone.

Fact: Domestic violence is a term that can apply to a wide range of criminal activities. The basis for a domestic violence charge is the relationship between the alleged perpetrator and the alleged victim. While accusations of violence, like assault, are frequently connected to domestic violence charges, other charges such as criminal trespassing or disorderly conduct could also result in a domestic violence charge, even if no physical contact occurred.

Myth: AZ Domestic violence charges are always classified as misdemeanor offenses.

Fact: In Arizona, felony offenses can frequently be charged as domestic violence offenses, like aggravated assault. In some cases, a defendant may be charged with a felony for a misdemeanor act in domestic violence cases. Known as Aggravated Domestic Violence, this charge may be issued if an individual has already been convicted of two previous domestic violence offenses within the past seven years.

Myth: Misdemeanor domestic violence charges carry the same penalty as all other misdemeanor offenses.

Fact: Even a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence will carry an additional penalty that is typically only applied to felony cases. After being convicted of a domestic violence offense that involves physical force (or the threat of physical force), or the use of a weapon, the convicted person will no longer be legally allowed to possess a firearm.

Understanding the truth about domestic violence and AZ law surrounding it allows you to better prepare yourself for your case. If accused of a domestic violence offense, it’s extremely important that you hire an experienced attorney right away. Schill Law Group has acted as the defense for numerous domestic violence cases and understands how to best present your side of the story, protect your rights, and defend you in court. Give us a call to get started today.