Restraining orders are issued by a court and direct an individual to stop abusing or harassing another person or putting them at risk of harm. These court orders are intended to restrain the abuser and protect a victim; failure to comply with the order is usually a criminal offense.
In Nevada, restraining orders are called orders of protection and are designed to protect people against varied types of violence, including domestic violence, stalking and harassment, sexual violence, workplace harassment or high risk behavior. The procedure for getting an order of protection in Las Vegas depends on the type of protection order a person is seeking.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders
In Nevada, an individual petitions the Family Division of the District Court for a protection order based on domestic violence. The term domestic violence is broadly defined under state statutes to include almost any type of assault, battery, coercion or threat by one individual against someone with whom the abuser has a familial or personal relationship. These include:
- Spouse or ex-spouse of the abuser.
- Anyone related to the abuser other than by marriage.
- Person dating or having a sexual relationship with the abuser.
- Person who has a child with the abuser.
- Minor child of any of these individuals.
- Minor child of the abuser.
- Any other person who has been appointed the custodian or legal guardian for the abuser’s minor child.
Sexual Assault Protection Orders
Under Nevada law, orders of protection are also available for victims of sexual assault. This term is defined as forced sexual penetration, including regular sex, oral sex or inserting anything into the genital or anal openings of another person's body. No special relationship is required for a victim of sexual assault to petition for an order of protection against someone who commits sexual assault.
Sexual assault can include both the act of sexually penetrating another person and the act of forcing that person to sexually penetrate the abuser or a third person. The victim must be unwilling to do the sexual act or be clearly mentally or physically incapable of resisting or understanding the act. Sexual activity between married individuals can be sexual assault if committed by force or by the threat of force.
Stalking & Harassment Protection Orders
Nevada also allows a victim of stalking or harassment to petition for an order of protection. No special relationship is required between victim and abuser to obtain this order. A protective order against stalking and harassment may be filed with the Justice Court when the stalking and harassment has occurred in Las Vegas Township and must be a repetitive action occurring more than one time.
Stalking is defined as a series of actions that make the victim feel frightened, intimidated or fearful for their safety or the safety of a family or household member, including a current or former spouse, a parent, a person who is related by blood or marriage, or a person who is or was living with the victim. The act becomes aggravated stalking when the individual doing the stalking also threatens the victim as a means of making them afraid of bodily harm or death.
Someone commits harassment if they threaten to injure the victim or another person, to damage property, to confine the victim or another person, or to do another act intended to seriously harm the physical or mental health or safety of the victim or another person.
Orders of Protection for Children
Nevada orders of protection are also available to the parent or guardian of a minor child. The parent or guardian can file a petition for the order if they believe that an adult has committed certain crimes against the child. These crimes include deliberate physical injury to the child, deliberate mental injury to the child, sexual abuse of the child or sexual exploitation of the child.
Workplace Harassment Orders of Protection
While a person harassed in Nevada can obtain a harassment order of protection, their employer can also file for an order of protection against workplace harassment. This order can protect the employer, their employee or anyone else in the workplace against the workplace harassment.
Harassment in the workplace, for the purposes of a Nevada order of protection, occurs when a person threatens or causes bodily injury, damage to the property of another person or substantial harm to the physical health, mental health or safety of a person. The threats must cause the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated or harassed.
High Risk Behavior Order of Protection
Finally, Nevada also provides for a high-risk protection order. This order can prevent a person from having a firearm in their possession or from purchasing one. These orders are available when an individual poses an immediate risk of shooting themselves or another person. The parties who can file for this type of protection order include the person's family or household member as well as law enforcement officers.
Applying for Nevada Temporary Protection Orders
The first step to getting a protection order in Nevada is to fill out the application for a temporary protective order, often called a TPO. The applicant needs to supply the name of the person to be restrained and set out the reasons a protective order is necessary. Each town has its own protective order applications. Look for Las Vegas orders of protection on the website of the Las Vegas Justice Court.
It's important for the applicant to figure out in advance which type of TPO they require and use that application. For example, there are separate applications for domestic violence, stalking and harassment and workplace harassment.
One the application is completed, a victim must take it to court to file. The local justice court usually handles TPO applications. However, in Las Vegas, domestic violence order applications must be filed in the Family Court. The Las Vegas Justice Court handles all other types of protective orders.
When the application is filed, it is taken to a judge who may issue a TPO that is valid for 45 days. The TPO orders the abuser to stay away from the victim during this period and/or to stop the harassment.
Extended Protective Orders
The victim should also file an application for an extended protective order (EPO) as well. These are not granted ex parte (without notice to the abuser) but require a hearing with notice to the adverse party, who can appear and present their side of the story.
At this hearing, the victim needs to present evidence and witnesses to convince the judge that they remain in danger. If the court grants the EPO, it is valid for one year. If the abuser violates either protection order, they face fines and jail time.
- If the defendant does not show up for the hearing, the judge may automatically grant the protective order or issue a new court date.
- If you do not show up for the hearing, it may be more difficult for you to obtain a protective order in the future.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.