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When faced with a threatening or abusive situation, it’s crucial to know that legal protections are available to ensure your safety and the well-being of your loved ones. In Idaho, civil protection orders serve as a powerful tool to provide immediate relief and support to individuals experiencing domestic violence, harassment, or other forms of abuse within their family or household. In this article, we will delve into the concept of civil protection orders and shed light on the benefits they offer.

What are Civil Protection Orders?

Civil protection orders, sometimes referred to as restraining orders, are legal documents issued by the court to protect individuals from harm or abuse by another person. Consequently, these orders aim to prevent further acts of violence, harassment, or intimidation and establish clear boundaries between parties involved in a contentious situation. In the context of family law, civil protection orders can be filed to protect spouses, children, other family members, or household members from any form of domestic violence.[1] In Idaho, domestic violence includes physical injury, sexual abuse, forced imprisonment, or the threat thereof.  [2] Victims of domestic violence can also obtain a protection order for malicious harassment, stalking, or telephone harassment. [3]

Benefits of Civil Protection Orders

  1. Protection from Abuse

The primary benefit of obtaining a civil protection order is the immediate and legal protection it provides. Once an order is granted, it prohibits the abuser from engaging in specific actions, such as contacting the protected party, entering their residence, or approaching them within a certain distance. This legal restriction helps ensure the safety and well-being of the protected individual and may also extend to any minor children involved.

  1. Peace of Mind

Knowing that the court has recognized the threat or abuse you have endured and has taken proactive measures to safeguard you can provide a significant sense of relief. A civil protection order grants peace of mind by allowing you to regain control over your life and ensuring that steps are in place to prevent further harm. It acts as a deterrent to the abuser, conveying a strong message that their actions will not be tolerated.

  1. Emergency Assistance

One of the notable benefits of civil protection orders is the availability of emergency assistance. In urgent situations, where there is an immediate threat to the safety of the protected party or children, a protection order can be obtained quickly, often on the same day. This emergency relief can be crucial in averting potentially dangerous situations and providing swift legal protection when time is of the essence.

  1. Custody and Visitation Provisions

Civil protection orders can also address issues related to child custody and visitation rights. When children are involved in cases of domestic violence or abuse, the court can include provisions within the protection order to ensure their safety and well-being. These provisions may restrict or supervise visitation, prohibit contact with the children, or establish a designated safe location for custody exchanges. These measures prioritize the best interest of the children and help create a safe environment for their upbringing.

How to Obtain a Civil Protection Order in Idaho?

You can obtain a civil protection order by applying at the local courthouse and giving a sworn statement detailing the abuse. When you petition the court for a civil protection order, the court will grant a temporary order for fourteen (14) days, or until a hearing can be held to determine whether the order should stay in place longer. Once the order is issued, a police officer will serve the alleged abuser with the order and a Notice of Hearing within 24 hours as long as he/she can be located. [4] At the next court hearing, you’ll be able to introduce evidence and present witness testimony to convince the court to extend the order for up to one year.

A protection order is a civil provision with criminal penalties. In other words, if you’ve been served with a civil protection order, it’s important to know that a violation is criminal and is considered a misdemeanor. Penalties include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Civil protection orders play a vital role in providing immediate protection and support to individuals facing abuse or threats within their family or household. By obtaining a protection order, individuals can regain control of their lives and ensure the safety of themselves and their loved ones. If you find yourself in a situation where you require immediate legal protection, contact our office to speak to one of our attorneys and take the first step toward reclaiming your safety.