The Injunction Against Harassment Explained (A.R.S. 12-1809)
A.R.S. 12-1809 allows people who believe they are being harassed to seek an injunction against harassment, which is essentially a court order that prohibits the alleged harasser from engaging in specific behaviors. The statute is broken down into multiple sections, which are detailed below:
What Exactly Constitutes Harassment?
- A series of acts over time directed at a specific person that would seriously alarm, annoy, or harass a reasonable person, and which do, in fact, seriously alarm, annoy, or harass the person without a legitimate purpose.
- One or more acts of sexual violence.
- Unlawful picketing, trespassory assembly, unlawful mass assembly, concerted interference with lawful business activity, and engaging in a secondary boycott, as well as defamation violating.
Who Can File for an Injunction Against Harassment?
Any person can request an injunction against harassment in Arizona through a verified petition filed with any court within Arizona. Parents or legal guardians must file for minors, but third parties can do so for those unable to request it.
When Will These Injunctions Not Be Granted?
An injunction will be denied against persons under age twelve (unless granted through the juvenile division of the superior court) and against more than one defendant. Additionally, an injunction that is not written and verified by the court is null and void.
What Is Included in Petitions for Injunctions?
- The plaintiff’s name, with confidential address.
- Defendant’s name and known address.
- Detailed harassment events and dates.
- Mention of prior court proceedings.
- Requested relief.
What Are the Filing Fees Involved?
There is no fee to file a petition for an injunction against harassment, and service fees can be deferred or waived. All necessary forms are provided for free through the courts. Law enforcement can serve the injunction without advance payment.
Are Court Hearings Involved?
In a hearing, a judge will hear your case in a court of law. The defendant can request one hearing at any time during the injunction’s validity without a fee. The hearing must occur within ten days unless there are compelling reasons for a delay. The court must mention the defendant’s right to a hearing on the injunction. After the hearing, the court can change, cancel, or keep the injunction.
How Does the Court Decide to Grant an Injunction Against Harassment?
The court reviews the petition and evidence to decide if an injunction should be granted without requiring a court hearing. Standard civil procedure rules don’t apply. If there’s evidence of harassment within the past year, or a risk of harm, the court can issue an injunction (time spent incarcerated or out-of-state does not count toward the one-year period). A hearing may be scheduled if the petition is denied.
What Happens Following the Issuing of an Injunction?
Once the injunction is granted, the court will prohibit the defendant from committing specific acts of harassment, as well as prohibit them from contacting the plaintiff (petitioner), or other designated people, at designated locations, such as their residence, job, or school. The court can also grant relief for the protection of the victim.
If the injunction isn’t served on the defendant within one year of being issued, it becomes invalid. It takes effect when served and remains valid for one year from that date. The same applies to modified injunctions, which last for one year from the service of the original injunction.
What Happens if an Injunction Against Harassment is Violated?
All injunctions contain a warning as an official court order. Disobeying this order is grounds for arrest and prosecution.
Per A.R.S. 13-2810, interfering with judicial proceedings is a class 1 misdemeanor, and that includes disobeying or resisting the lawful order, process, or other mandate of a court (read fully here.)
A peace officer can arrest someone, with or without a warrant, if they believe that person has violated the injunction issued under this section, even if the violation didn’t occur in their presence. Release provisions under another section don’t apply to this arrest. The arrested person can be released as per Arizona’s criminal procedure rules, with conditions to protect the victim and others.
Is There Such a Thing as a Mutual Injunction?
The court won’t grant mutual injunctions. If both sides file separate petitions, their cases may be combined for one hearing, but the court can still issue individual injunctions if necessary.
Is an Attorney Required to Handle the Injunction Process?
You can file a petition for an injunction without an attorney in the state of Arizona, however each case is unique and comes with varying levels of challenges. Having an attorney on your side ensures that your paperwork is filed correctly and accurately, and that your evidence documentation is thorough and sufficient. An attorney can also make sure that your injunction is being upheld and can navigate any additional legal issues or hearings that may arise through the process.
Click here to read A.R.S. 12-1809 in full.
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