Judges issue restraining orders to protect victims of abuse and harassment from continuing to be harmed by an aggressor. In Montana, restraining orders are called "orders of protection" and are intended to protect victims of domestic violence. These orders can mandate the restrained person to do anything the judge feels would be necessary to protect the petitioner.
Under Montana law, protective orders are intended to keep victims of domestic violence safe. Domestic abuse is a crime of violence committed by a family member or partner.
In Montana, family members are people who are related to you by marriage, blood or adoption. Partners are people in intimate relationships: current and former spouses, people who share a child, and people who are or were in a dating (or "ongoing intimate") relationship with a person of the opposite sex.
To be eligible for a protective order, you must have been the victim of domestic violence, which in Montana includes certain specific crimes. Most of these crimes are violent in nature, including most forms of assault, rape and incest, kidnapping and arson. Also included are crimes such as stalking (following), harassment and intimidation.
The petition must be filed in the Montana county where the petitioner lives. The only exception would be if the petitioner and respondent have ongoing custody or divorce proceedings in another court, in which case it should be filed there. The forms are available in the court clerk's office and online; complete them and file them with the court.
Once you have filed paperwork, you may be asked to appear immediately before a judge, who will set a court date. You may request a temporary restraining order to protect you until the full hearing, which will be held within 20 days of your application.
The respondent must be served with the temporary restraining order and notice of hearing prior to the hearing. If law enforcement or a professional process server cannot find the respondent, the hearing may be rescheduled.
Montana restraining orders are valid for a maximum of one year. They may be renewed prior to expiration.
The penalty for violating a Montana restraining order is a maximum fine of $500 and/or a maximum of six months in jail. Second convictions carry the same maximum punishments, but certain minimum restrictions: $200 fines and 24 hours in jail. Subsequent convictions carry a minimum $500 and maximum $2,000 fine, and/or a minimum 10 days and maximum two years in jail.
Violators may also be charged with other crimes, in addition to the violation, such as assault, stalking or criminal trespass.
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