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There are two (2) types of protective orders issued by the court:

  1. A No Contact Order (NCO) is related to a crime and is issued at the time of arraignment and lasts the entire length of the criminal case and sentence.

  2. A Restraining Order is not related to a criminal case. The court will issue a restraining order if there are reasons to believe that there has been physical or sexual abuse, threats of violence, or stalking. Violation of a restraining order is an arrest-able offense.

Victims of Domestic Violence can apply for a restraining order based on their relationship with the person they want protection against in the following courts:

  • Family Court- if the victim is related to a current or former spouse, have children in common, adult related to you by blood or marriage, or if the victim is a minor having a dating relationship with another minor.

  • District Court- if the victim is seeking protection from an adult whom you currently live with or have lived with in the past three years, or an adult with whom you are currently in a dating relationship or have been with in the past year.


  • Superior Court- if the victim and the perpetrator are not related and do not qualify for the family and district court.


Application for Restraining Order

In order to obtain a restraining order at a Family or District Court, the victim must complete the legal paperwork and describe truthfully the ways the defendant physically or sexually abused you, stalked, or made verbal threats of aggression towards you. The victim must face the defendant in court proceedings and if the judge deems that there is probable cause for a restraining order one will be issued.

A restraining order is free of cost.

Legal Representation

You may represent yourself or contact an attorney for assistance.

Restraining Order is Effective Immediately

When the victim first applies, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is issued which is effective for twenty-one days to allow time for the defendant to be served and brought to court. If the defendant cannot be located for service, the TRO will be extended, and a new summons issued.

A restraining order if granted can be in effect for up to three (3) years based on circumstances. If the victim is still in fear of the defendant, then he or she must return to the court to apply for an extension.


The violation of a District or Family Court restraining order is a criminal offense and is punishable by prison fine, or monetary payment or both. Violation of a Superior Court restraining order is a civil matter and is considered a contempt of court.

Any contact made in person, by phone, text, letter, email, or through a third party is considered a violation of the restraining order.

No-Contact Order (NCO)

A no-contact order (NCO) is issued by the court because of an ongoing criminal case. The NCO will be in effect for the entire time the case is pending. The NCO will expire if the case is disposed of by acquittal or the ending of the defendant’s sentence.

A restraining order may serve as additional protection to the NCO.

If children are involved, they may or may not be covered under the NCO, therefore, a restraining order is necessary to protect the children from the defendant.

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