Interviewer: What is the process like when someone wants to file for a protect order?
Danielle Hawkes: You’re going to file for 2 things right off the bat. You’re going to file for a temporary order, as well as a permanent order. The temporary order, if the evidence is sufficient, will be entered that same day. Some courts take a little longer, but we really strive to get them entered the same day. Then the court will set a hearing. In the case of a protective order, the court will set a hearing, and then at that hearing, you’ll go in and argue your case.
If the court finds that there’s enough evidence for a permanent order, then they’ll go ahead and take a permanent order. In a stalking injunction, it’s the same thing. You file the temporary stalking injunction, but instead of setting a hearing automatically, the respondent actually has to ask that a hearing be set. They only have 10 days to ask that a hearing be set, or actually in that case, if you get papers that say the stalking injunction against you, you really need to request that hearing within 10 days. That will be reviewed. If a hearing isn’t requested or if at the hearing evidence is sufficient, then the stalking injunction will be made permanent at that point.
The Timeframe of Obtaining a Protective Order or a Stalking Injunction
Interviewer: How long does the whole process take?
Danielle Hawkes: It really can happen very quickly. to get a protective order, a stalking injunction, you can get it the same day. They can go into the court and get it the same day. You can come in and talk with us, and we can help you get it the same day. The hearing is usually scheduled about 2 weeks out, and then at that point you should have final resolution. That’s a very quick process.
It is Mandatory for the Petitioner to be Present at the Hearing for a Protective Order
Interviewer: What’s the hearing going to be like? Do both parties have to be there?
Danielle Hawkes: Yes. The petitioner definitely needs to be there. The petitioner is the one who filed this paperwork. The petitioner definitely needs to be there, and to present their evidence and argue that they’re right, and an order is required. If the respondent isn’t there, but they’ve been served with the paperwork, and the petitioner can show that they’ve been served the paperwork, then the court will rule in favor of the petitioner. If the respondent is there, then the court is going to listen to both sides. These hearings are very busy. Our courtrooms are usually really full.
I think that my clients definitely appreciate having an attorney to stand up to the podium in the short amount of time that’s given to tell the story. The stories are very emotional and complicated. An attorney can really succinctly tell the court exactly why the order should enter or why it shouldn’t.