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Closed on all Legal Holidays
Where do I file for an Order of Protection?
Eligibility for orders of protection:
A person may file a petition for an order of protection at any time:
Against a partner or family member if there is a reasonable apprehension of bodily injury, or if the person is a victim of specific crimes committed by a partner or family member including but not limited to: assault, aggravated assault, criminal or negligent endangerment, assault with a weapon, unlawful restraint or kidnapping.
Against someone other than a partner or family member if the person is a victim of stalking, incest, sexual assault or sexual intercourse without consent, assault, aggravated assault or assault on a minor by respondent.
The Legal Advocate for HAVEN is only able to assist people who are victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, partner or family member abuse, children/minors who have been abused and have a parent or guardian filing an order on their behalf. If you are eligible for HAVEN’s services, please call (406) 582-2038. The Legal Advocate is not an attorney and cannot give you legal advice or represent you.
If you are ineligible for HAVEN services, may still be eligible for an order of protection but would need to research on your own by going to www.montanalawhelp.org or hiring a private attorney. You can get an attorney referral by calling the State Bar Lawyer Referral service at 406-449-6577. You can also go http://courts.mt.gov/library/topic/domestic.mcpx and use the interactive site to complete your petition.
Process for Orders of Protection:
An order of protection is a court order signed by a judge that restricts the Respondent from contacting the Petitioner in any way including personal contact, all forms of communication (including mail, email, phone, voicemail, text messages, etc.) or through a third party. The order usually stipulates that the Respondent must stay at least 300 feet away from Petitioner, as well as Petitioner’s residence, place of employment or school.
An order of protection is a CIVIL issue. It does not charge the Respondent criminally. If an order of protection is in place and the Respondent violates the order, they may be charged criminally by the State for violating a court order under Montana Code Annotated section 45-5-220 or 45-5-626 and may carry penalties.
If the order of protection is granted, it does not go into effect immediately. It only goes into effect when the Respondent is served by a Deputy. If an order has been granted, the Petitioner will receive a copy of the order; either by mail or obtaining from the court. A court date will also be scheduled by the court if the order of protection is granted. This hearing will be within 20 days of the issuing the temporary order of protection. At this hearing, the Petitioner has the ability to come before the judge and ask for the order of protection to be granted as a permanent order. The Petitioner has the right to testify before the judge as to what has occurred and why they are in danger and in fear of the Respondent. The Respondent also has the right to testify as to why they feel the order of protection DOES NOT need to be in place. After hearing both testimonies, the judge will determine if the permanent order of protection is necessary.
Both the petitioner and the respondent have the right to hire an attorney for the order of protection hearing; however, it is not required. The legal advocate is NOT an attorney and cannot give legal advice or represent the petitioner. The Legal Advocate can solely give the petitioner options and support.
Where do I find a map and phone number of local government offices?
Please note: public comment provided to a majority of the Commissioners is considered a public record. Also, anonymous public comment will not be considered. Appropriate city staff are often provided a copy of public comment when it pertains to their department.