Understanding Restraining Orders in Las Vegas
Nevada has laws that protect individuals from threats of harm in many different situations. Courts have authority to issue restraining orders — also called protection orders or protective orders — in appropriate circumstances. If you face a potentially threatening situation, or a court issued a restraining order against you, this discussion provides you with basic information about temporary protection orders and extended protection orders.
If, at any time, you feel another person poses an immediate threat of harm to yourself, a child, or someone else, you should do everything possible to get to a safe place. Then, call 911 for police assistance with the situation. If you need assistance evaluating circumstances in which a restraining order may be necessary, or you need to defend against a protection order, Las Vegas family law and criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten is here to help. Your first consultation and case evaluation are always free of charge.
Temporary Protection Orders and Extended Protection Orders
The purpose of protection orders is to protect an individual by requiring another person to refrain from certain conduct that poses a threat of harm. Nevada courts have the power to restraining orders in a range of circumstances. There are two primary types of orders: temporary protection orders (TPOs) and extended protection orders. There are significant differences between the two types of orders.
Generally, a temporary protection order stays in effect for up to 45 days, unless the applicable statute or the judge specifies a shorter term. An extended protection order is one that extends the initial temporary protection order for up to two years, or a shorter period for some types of orders.
In some circumstances, the court grants a temporary order without notice to the adverse party. However, the judge may require a hearing before deciding to issue a temporary order. In contrast, the court cannot issue an extended protection order without notice to the adverse party and a hearing in which with both sides have an opportunity to present evidence on whether the court should issue the order.
In Clark County, the district court family division (Family Court) has jurisdiction over domestic violence protection orders and high-risk protection orders. The justice courts have jurisdiction over other types of protection orders, and concurrent jurisdiction over high-risk protection orders.
Types of Restraining Orders
Nevada laws provide for multiple types of protection orders, with each type governed by different statutory provisions. Restraining orders are civil orders. But violation of a restraining order can result in misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony criminal charges.
While representation by legal counsel is not required to obtain a restraining order or defend against one, retaining a lawyer can be very beneficial on account the complexity of the laws and court processes. A knowledgeable attorney can also help evaluate specific circumstances to determine the available strategies and options.
A restraining order may be modified, extended, or dissolved in some circumstances on motion by the applicant or defendant. An appeal from an extended order also is possible. Legal representation is strongly recommended in those proceedings as well.
In Clark County, the Eighth Judicial District Court Family Division (Family Court) has jurisdiction over domestic violence temporary and extended protection orders. Domestic violence includes a wide range of conduct (including battery, assault, and sexual assault) by certain persons who have a specific relationship to person requesting the order.
The judge has broad authority to order specific types of protection in a temporary order, including awarding temporary legal custody. An extended order may award permanent custody and address visitation.
A temporary protection order may last up to 45 days or until the hearing on the extended order. The judge may extend that period under limited circumstances. The court can issue an extended order that lasts for up to two years after a hearing.
Harm to Children
A parent or guardian who believes a family member or unrelated person is committing physical injury, mental harm, or sexual abuse or exploitation against a child under the age of 18 may request a protection order to prevent the conduct. Justice courts have jurisdiction over orders for protection of children. A temporary order lasts up to 30 days. An extended order lasts up to one (1) year.
A victim of sexual assault may request protection against the person who committed the assault, whether that person is a family member or an unrelated person. A temporary order can last up to 30 days or until the hearing on an extended order. An extended order can last up to three (3) years.
Stalking and Harassment
Clark County justice courts have jurisdiction over protection orders for non-family members threatened by conduct that constitutes stalking, aggravated stalking, or harassment under state law. A temporary order can last up to 45 days. An extended order lasts for up to two (2) years.
A specific law, N.R.S. § 33.240, protects against harassment in the workplace, including threats of bodily injury, damage to property, or substantial harm to physical or mental health or safety of a worker. The threatened worker may request a protection order against an employer, another employee, or a person present at the workplace. The justice courts have jurisdiction over protection orders for workplace harassment.
A temporary order lasts for up to 15 days. An extended order lasts for up to one (1) year.
Protection orders for high-risk behavior became available under a Nevada law that took effect on January 1, 2020. Certain individuals may request a high-risk protection order if a person poses an immediate risk of self-inflicted injury or injury to another person by possessing, controlling, or purchasing a firearm. A protection order prevents the person from possessing, controlling, purchasing, or otherwise securing a firearm.
The district court or a justice court may issue either (or both) an emergency protection order effective for seven (7) days or an extended protection order effective for up to one (1) year. The judge may renew an extended order for an additional year on petition of the applicant. The court also may dissolve a temporary or extended order in certain situations.
Getting Help for Restraining Orders
If you face a situation where you may need a restraining order, or a court issued a protection order against you, legal representation can be extremely beneficial, even though it is not required. Nevada laws and court procedures relating to protection orders are extremely complicated. A knowledgeable lawyer helps you navigate through the whole process. Support of an attorney can go a long way toward minimizing the stress that accompanies a situation that is already difficult.
If a Nevada court issued a restraining order against you, the proceedings can have significant impact on important aspects of your life well beyond the issues addressed in the protective order. Important rights, such as those relating to firearms and child custody, can be seriously affected. Your employment and other parts of your life can be affected as well. Legal representation is especially important for that reason.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Las Vegas Restraining Order Attorney
Whether you are defending against a restraining order or seeking to have one issued, the best way to protect your rights is to have legal representation. Las Vegas family law and criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten has the skills and experience to help you navigate through the laws and court system. Your first consultation and case evaluation are always free-of-charge. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.