What Happens Next?
If the Judge grants the Order of Protection, the Court will forward your petition, the order from the Judge, and related documents to the closest law enforcement agency to the defendant. The law enforcement agency will serve (give a copy of) the order on the defendant.
If the Judge grants the Injunction against Harassment, YOU must have the defendant served with the order before it will be effective. You may use a private process server..OR..you may use the Constable.
If you use a private process server you are responsible for delivering the defendant's copy of the order to the process server and for paying the service fee and mileage.
If you elect to have the Constable serve your order, you will be billed for a service fee and mileage. The mileage charge is calculated using the one-way distance from the Court to the location where the order is served. You will be charged for each attempt to serve. Reliable information about the defendant's address and times to serve could save you money. These fees are lower than what has been set by the State Legislature and are subject to change at any time.
The Constable will attempt to serve your order Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Depending upon the availability of the defendant, it may take several weeks to serve your order.
IF YOU DO NOT PRESENTLY KNOW WHERE THE DEFENDANT IS, OR DO NOT HAVE AN ACCURATE ADDRESS, you should keep the certified copy of the order. As soon as you learn where the defendant is, you can contact a private process server so that they may attempt to serve the defendant.
IF THE DEFENDANT IS IN JAIL, the Constable will serve the order. Unless the Judge has ordered that the service fee be waived, you will be billed a flat fee for this service, If the defendant is in the process of being released, there may not be enough time to have service completed.
In an EMERGENCY SITUATION Call 911. Any Police Officer can serve your order. Unless the Judge has ordered that the service fees be waived, you will be billed for the service fee.
Once an order is served, it will be in effect for twelve (12) months. After twelve months, the order will expire and the defendant will be free to contact you. You may request the order be renewed by filing a new petition.
The defendant may request a hearing on the order one time during the twelve months in which it is in effect. A hearing will be held within 10 days from the date requested unless the court finds compelling reasons to continue the hearing. If you (the plaintiff) have been granted exclusive use of the residence the hearing will then be held within 5 days.
If your circumstances change during the year your order is valid, you must appear in person to request a possible modification to your order
If a you have filed a petition for divorce or separation of marriage, you must notify the court immediately. The proceeding will be transferred to superior court.
Violation of the Court Order is a Criminal Charge
If the defendant violates the court order you should CALL 911 FOR ALL EMERGENCIES
A decision to file criminal charges is made by the Prosecutor's Office, NOT by the court.