How Long Does a Protective Order Last? What You Need To Know

A protective order is a legal document that prohibits a person from contacting, harassing, stalking, or abusing another person.

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What is a Protection Order in Family Issues? | PEOPLE

It can also include other conditions, such as requiring the person to stay away from a certain place, surrender firearms, or attend counseling.

Protective orders are often issued in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or harassment.

The duration of a protective order depends on the type of order, the jurisdiction, and the circumstances of the case.

Different types of protective orders include:

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Emergency Protective Order

An emergency protective order is a short-term order that is issued by a law enforcement officer or a judge when there is an immediate threat of harm to the victim.

It can last only five business days or seven calendar days (whichever is shorter).

Temporary Protective Order

A temporary protective order is a preliminary order that is issued by a judge after the victim files a petition in court.

Temporary protective order can last until a hearing for a permanent order is held, which is usually within a few weeks.

A temporary protective order can include the same conditions as an emergency order, as well as additional ones, such as granting temporary custody of children or pets, or ordering the payment of child or spousal support.

Permanent Protective Order

A permanent protective order is a final order that is issued by a judge after a hearing where both parties have a chance to present evidence and testimony.

It can last for the period stated in the order, which can vary depending on the state and the situation.

For example:

In Texas, a permanent protective order can last up to two years, or longer if the abuser committed a felony offense involving family violence, caused serious bodily injury, or was the subject of two or more previous orders.

California, a permanent protective order can last up to five years, or longer if the victim requests a renewal or the judge finds good cause to extend it³.

In New York, a permanent protective order can last up to eight years, or longer if there are aggravating circumstances, such as the use of a weapon, physical injury, or prior violations of the order⁴.

Modifying or Terminating a Protective Order

A protective order can be modified or terminated by the court that issued it, either upon the request of either party or on its own motion.

The court may consider factors such as the current threat of harm, the wishes of the victim, the behavior of the abuser, and the best interests of the children or pets involved.

It may also require a hearing before granting or denying a modification or termination.

A protective order can also expire automatically if the time period stated in the order elapses, or if the order is superseded by another order, such as a divorce decree or a custody order.

However, some states may extend the duration of a protective order if the abuser is incarcerated or released from prison within a certain period before the order expires.

Violating a Protective Order

Violating a protective order is a serious offense that can result in criminal charges and penalties, such as fines, jail time, probation, or community service.

The victim can also seek civil remedies, such as suing the abuser for damages or requesting a contempt of court order.

Additionally, violating a protective order can affect the abuser’s rights and privileges, such as custody, visitation, immigration, employment, or housing.

What is the process of getting a protective order?

1.Report the complaint to a local police station.

You should inform the police about the domestic violence that you have experienced or witnessed, and ask for their assistance.

The police may help you file a report, collect evidence, provide you with a medical examination, or refer you to other services.

The police may also issue an emergency protective order if they believe that you are in immediate danger.

2.Apply for a protection order at a magistrate’s court

You should go to the nearest court that deals with domestic violence cases, and request the forms for a protection order.

Fill out the forms with your personal details, the details of the person who abused you (the respondent), and the reasons why you need a protection order.

You may also need to attach any supporting documents, such as police reports, medical records, or witness statements.

3.A magistrate will review your application.

The magistrate will read your application and decide whether to grant you a protection order or not.

The magistrate may also ask you some questions or request more information.

If the magistrate is satisfied that you have shown enough evidence of domestic violence, and that you need protection from the respondent, the magistrate will issue an interim protection order.

This is a temporary order that will last until a final hearing is held.

4.An interim protection order will be served on the respondent

The interim protection order will be delivered to the respondent by the police or a court official.

The order will inform the respondent of the allegations against them, the conditions that they must follow, and the date and time of the final hearing.

The respondent will also have a chance to respond to the application and oppose the protection order if they wish.

5.A final hearing will be held.

You and the respondent will have to appear in court for the final hearing, where both of you will have an opportunity to present your side of the story.

Bring witnesses, evidence, or a lawyer to support your case.

The magistrate will listen to both parties and make a decision based on the facts and the law.

The magistrate may either grant a permanent protection order, which will last for a specified period or until further notice, or dismiss the application if there is not enough proof of domestic violence.

These are the general steps for getting a protection order, but they may differ depending on where you live.

Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a legal advocate or an attorney who can help you understand your rights and options, and assist you with obtaining and enforcing a protection order that meets your needs.


A protective order is a powerful tool that can help protect victims of abuse from further harm.

However, the duration of a protective order can vary depending on the type of order, the jurisdiction, and the circumstances of the case.

Therefore, it is important for victims to consult with a legal advocate or an attorney who can help them understand their rights and options, and assist them with obtaining and enforcing a protective order that meets their needs.


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