Go to a court that can properly help you. This will most often be a Family Court, but may be a District Court if there is no Family Court in your county. You can file in a court where either you or your abuser lives. If you have questions about where to file for a protective order, contact your local police.
Here is a brief listing of current Family Division courts where you may get a protective order. You can find a complete updated list on the NH Court website.
Ask the court clerk for a Domestic Violence Petition. Simply write down, as clearly and with as much detail as possible:
- what happened to you.
- the date, time, and location where it happened.
- the important facts about the abuse.
- additional facts of any other past or present abuse by this person.
If you need extra paper to write on, ask the clerk. You will have to swear under oath that what you have written is true.
Temporary or Emergency Protective Orders
First, a copy of your temporary protective order will be sent to the Department of Safety by computer. The State Police must make the protective order available to your local police department and sheriff.
The local police must promptly serve your abuser with a copy of the temporary or emergency protective order. There is no charge for this service. These orders are in effect anywhere in New Hampshire and should be enforceable in other states too.
At the final hearing, you will have to testify before the judge about what happened and why you want the final protective order. Tell the judge about what you wrote down in your petition, if you have a history of being abused by your attacker, or if he or she has abused any other member of your family.
Other things to be sure and tell the judge:
If you have children in common with the abusive person, tell the judge whether you want to have them continue living with you and whether you want child or other financial support.
After the final hearing, if the judge finds that you were abused, the court will issue final orders. If the judge finds abuse, he or she must order the abuser to hand over all firearms in his or her possession to law enforcement.
You can also ask the court to issue the following orders as part of the final orders:
Once a protective order is in effect against the abuser, it is a crime for the abuser to violate the order. If the abuser knowingly violates a protective order in any way, it is a class A misdemeanor crime. You should report any violations to the police. The police will decide whether to arrest and prosecute him/her. Regardless of what the police do, if you feel there is a violation of the order, you can also take the abuser back to court by filing a motion for contempt of the order. A contempt hearing must be held within 14 days.
It is against the law for your spouse, partner, family or household member to:
In addition to getting protective orders, you can also ask the police to charge your abuser or stalker with one or more crimes.
If the police have good cause to believe that you have been abused within the past twelve hours or that a protective order has been violated, they can immediately arrest the abuser and file criminal charges against him/her. If it has been more than twelve hours, the police must get a warrant to arrest the abuser.
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