If someone is stalking you or your minor child (under the age of 16), you can file a request in the Civil Division for an order to have them stop. You can get such an order in the civil division only if the other person is not a family member or someone you have ever lived with or dated. For family members, people you have lived with, or people you have dated, you must file a request in the Family Division.
To ask for a no stalking order, you have to fill out some forms. One is called a complaint, and another is called an affidavit.
The affidavit is an explanation of what has happened that makes you feel you need a court order. You have to swear that you are telling the truth when you sign it. After you fill out these forms, a judge will read them and decide whether your situation meets the requirements for a temporary emergency order.
If the judge does not issue an emergency order:
- You can still ask to have a hearing so that you can testify in court to try to prove your case. If you ask for a hearing, the court will send your complaint, affidavit, and hearing notice to the police so they can deliver a copy to the defendant. This is called serving the defendant.
- You can choose not to ask for a hearing, in which case your complaint and affidavit stay confidential, and a copy does not go to the defendant.
If the judge does issue an emergency order:
- It is only a temporary order. A hearing will be scheduled for a later date so that you and the defendant can both testify in court and tell your sides of the story.
- The court will deliver a copy of your complaint, your affidavit, and the temporary order to the police. The police will then deliver these to the defendant. This is called serving the defendant.
Until the police serve the paperwork, the temporary order is not yet in effect.
The hearing is not based just on what you wrote in your affidavit. You will have to testify. You may also bring other people to testify about what happened. If present at the hearing, the defendant also gets to testify and may bring witnesses. These hearings are public. After you and the defendant have testified, the judge will decide whether the evidence meets the requirements for an order.
If the judge decides there is not enough evidence for an order, the temporary order ends and the case is dismissed.
If the judge issues an order, it will be for a limited time. You and the defendant will both get a copy of the order right after the hearing if the defendant is present. If the defendant is not present, the police will have to deliver a copy to the defendant before the order is in effect.
If a no stalking order is issued, the defendant may be forbidden to contact you in any way, by email, text, mail, telephone, social media, etc. If the defendant does contact you in violation of the order, they could be arrested. The police and the prosecutor decide whether to take action if this happens.