What is a peace order?
A peace order allows someone to seek relief from a person who is bothering them or interfering with their daily activities. The offender could be a co-worker, acquaintance or even a complete stranger. Peace orders are usually not filed against someone that an individual has a romantic or family relationship with. In those instances, a protective order will be requested.
What do peace orders cover?
The following actions are covered under the current peace order law:
- Choking, kicking, punching, shoving, shooting, stabbing and any other action that causes significant bodily harm
- Criminal visual surveillance
- False imprisonment
- Intentional and malicious property destruction
- Misuse of phone equipment and facilities
- Misuse of interactive computer services or electronic communications
- Revenge porn
- Threats or other actions that could cause a person to fear that they will be subjected to significant bodily harm
Who can ask for a peace order?
Employers can ask for a peace order against an employee who has made threats or committed acts of violence in the work environment. The offending employee is considered the “on behalf of” party and the employer is the petitioner in that situation. Employers must inform an employee before a peace order on their behalf is filed.
Retaliation by an employer against a person who does not testify at a peace order hearing or supply requested information is illegal. If an employer does not file for a peace order on one of their employees, the employer will be immune from civil liabilities that may occur as a result. However, after October 1st, 2023, the immunity clause will no longer be valid.
Individual people can ask for a peace order against others as needed. They can only be used for people that the requestor does not know intimately. Current and former romantic partners, people who live in their home, and specific relatives cannot be included in the peace order request.
What is an interim peace order?
An interim peace order is the first step in the process. It will temporarily prevent the offender from contacting you. If additional protection is required, a temporary peace order may be sought. A final peace order is the final stage.
How can I obtain an interim peace order?
You can start by visiting your county district court commissioner’s office to file a petition. A petition must be filed within 30 days from when the act occurred. There will be a service fee of $40 and a filing fee of $46. People who are experiencing financial hardship may have the filing fee waived by the court in certain instances. The petition may be requested when the courts are not in session.
When completing the form, be sure to include a copy of the police report and photographs of any injuries that you experienced because of the offender’s actions. You may want to ask any people who witnessed those acts to testify on your behalf and inquire about possible criminal charges with your local law enforcement office.
All incidents of real or perceived harm by the accused must be documented. You should also list the potential relief that you are seeking and any pending or prior actions that exist between you and the other party (also referred to as the respondent).
You will then be required to appear before a commissioner to explain your reasons for the relief request after the petition has been completed and submitted. Reasonable grounds are the typical burden of proof in such instances. All relevant evidence should be submitted. You must answer all questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge. Purposely providing false information may result in prison time not exceeding 90 days or a fine of up to $1,000.
If the commissioner approves your request, an interim peace order will be issued. This order will be delivered to the respective district court and local law enforcement. A copy of this order will be served to the respondent by a law enforcement officer. The peace order will include the location, time and date for a temporary peace order hearing, as well as the tentative location, date and time for a final peace order hearing.
What relief does an interim peace order provide?
The exact relief in a peace order will depend on the relief that’s being sought. It could require the respondent to adhere to any or all of the following conditions:
- To stay away from your temporary home, place of employment, or school.
- To stop harassing you, contacting you, or trying to contact you.
- To not enter your home for any reason.
- To not commit an act of violence against you or threaten to commit acts that could cause bodily harm to you.
How long are interim peace orders valid for?
Interim peace orders will expire on the 2nd business day after it has been ordered. If the courts are closed on that day, the order will then expire on the next day that the respective district court is open for normal business. If you want to extend the nature and terms of the interim peace order, you’ll need to attend the temporary peace order hearing. Both parties are usually required to attend that hearing.
If the offender violates the terms of the interim peace order, report their actions to law enforcement immediately. They may be found guilty of committing a misdemeanor and sentenced to up to 90 days in jail or to pay a fine of no more than $1,000. These penalties may be increased for each additional violation.
If you have questions or concerns about interim peace orders, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Our trained professionals will listen to what you have to say. We’ll explain how peace orders work and advise you as to possible next steps. Peace orders can be uncomfortable, but they may be essential for getting your life back on track again.