Order of Protection (No Contact Order)
Below is a list of forms that may be printed, completed and submitted to the District Court Clerk's Office for filing. The content of the forms will be reviewed before acceptance by a Deputy Clerk
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Some of the final hearings of Protection Order cases are heard by the State District Judge. Protection Orders which are commonly referred to as "No Contact Orders" are limited to a specific situation where there is abuse or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm by a family or household member.
Who can file
The Petition for an Order of Protection may be filed by an adult family or household member on behalf of himself or herself, or on behalf of another family or household member who is a minor. The definition of “Family or Household Member” is shown below.
Where to file
The Petition for an Order of Protection is filed in the Circuit Court Clerk's Office located at the Courthouse, 301 West Main. You will need to have photo identification with you because your petition will be filed under oath and the clerks will verify/notarize your petition.
Contents of Petition
The Petition for an Order of Protection must be verified under oath and allege the existence of domestic abuse, which is defined below. It should state the specific facts and circumstances of the domestic abuse, including the dates said abuse occurred. It is important to list as much detail as possible including who, what, where, and when of the abuse. The Petition should disclose any pending litigation between the parties and any prior filings for an Order of Protection.The Petition is not proper if it only alleges a child custody dispute, property dispute, or harassing phone or text messages. It should not be used solely to gain an advantage in a pending domestic relations case.
Definition of Domestic Abuse and Family or Household Member
Arkansas law defines “domestic abuse” as follows:
(A) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault between family or household members; or
(B) Any sexual conduct between family or household members, whether minors or adults, that constitutes a crime under the laws of this state; and“Family or household members” means spouses, former spouses, parents and children, persons related by blood within the fourth degree of consanguinity, any children residing in the household, persons who presently or in the past have resided or cohabited together, persons who have or have had a child in common, and persons who are presently or in the past have been in a dating relationship together. (Ark. Code Ann. 9-15-103)
Temporary Order of Protection
A Temporary Order of Protection shall be entered if the Petition alleges that there is an immediate and present danger of domestic abuse, and the Judge finds sufficient evidence to support it.The Order may exclude the respondent from the petitioner’s dwelling or one that is shared, and from the place of business or employment, school, or other location of the petitioner or victim. The Order can also award temporary custody, establish visitation rights and order temporary child support. The relief granted may also include enjoining the abusing party from doing, attempting to do, or threatening to do an act injuring, mistreating, molesting, or harassing the petitioner.The Ex Parte Temporary Order of Protection is effective until the date of the hearing.If the Court does not find sufficient evidence for a temporary order, a hearing date will be set.
Hearing on Petition and Final Order
A hearing on a Final Order of Protection will be set within 30 days of the filing of the Petition, or at the next court date, whichever is later. The parties may testify and call witnesses on their behalf. The petitioner has the burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, to show domestic abuse.The Petitioner (person who filed) has the burden of presenting evidence- that can be testimony, photograph, physical evidence, or other witnesses’ testimony. The Court will make a determination and consider only the evidence that is presented at the hearing and will apply the Law, which is the Arkansas Domestic Abuse Act of 1991.If the Court finds domestic abuse, a Final Order of Protection may be entered for a period of time not less than ninety (90) days nor more than 10 years.
Court Costs and Fees
There are no initial filing fees or service costs; however, if a Final Order of Protection is entered the Petitioner or Respondent may be assessed filing fees to the Circuit Clerk (currently $165.00) and service costs to the Sheriff’s Office (currently $50). The Court may, and commonly does assess fees and costs to the parties at the conclusion of the case.
The Petitioner and Respondent should seek legal advice if there are questions regarding a pending case. Either party may have an attorney represent them at any hearing. It is encouraged that you consult an attorney because the Arkansas Rules of Evidence and all other Court Rules apply to this proceeding. The Judge and Court Clerks cannot give legal advice.
Penalty for Violations
A 1st offense for violating a protection order is a Class A Misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500.00.A 2nd offense for violating a protection order is a Class D Felony and carries a penalty of up to 6 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.00.
Firearms and Ammunition:
Any person who has a permanent order of protection entered against him or her is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm or ammunition under Federal Law.
Arkansas Handbook for survivors of domestic violence entitled: Domestic Violence: A Practical Guide For Navigating the Legal System in Arkansas: Click Here To Download
Resource to generate forms approved by the Administrative Offices of the Courts for statewide use to file for an order of protection: Click Here To Go To Site
Note: These dates are subject to change. Please contact the Court to confirm these dates