Temporary Orders of Protection
Justice Court must follow certain criteria in issuing Temporary Orders of Protection (TOP). The purpose of TOP is to promote the safety and protection of victims of partner and family member assault, victims of sexual assault, and victims of stalking.
A Person may be eligible for an Order of Protection if he/she is in reasonable apprehension of bodily injury by a partner or family member. Pursuant to Section 40-25-102 MCA, eligibility requirements, in part, include the following:
- Partner-Family Member Assault: Respondent (partner or family member) caused bodily injury to Petitioner, used a weapon to cause bodily injury, or caused Petitioner to fear bodily injury.
- Assault: Respondent caused bodily injury to Petitioner, had physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature, or caused Petitioner to fear bodily injury.
- Intimidation: Respondent threatened physical harm or confinement so Petitioner would obey him/her.
- Endangerment: Respondent created a risk of death or serious bodily injury to Petitioner.
- Kidnapping/Restraint: Respondent held Petitioner against my his/her will and interfered with Petitioner’s liberty.
- Arson: Respondent burned Petitioner’s property or placed Petitioner in danger of death or bodily injury by fire or explosives.
- Incest: Petitioner is a family member of Respondent and he/she had sexual contact with Petitioner
If there is no relationship between the parties, a person may be eligible for a TOP under the following circumstances:
- Assault: Respondent caused bodily injury to Petitioner, had physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature, or caused Petitioner to fear bodily injury
- Sexual Assault: Respondent had sexual contact with Petitioner without consent.
- Sexual Intercourse Without Consent: Respondent had sexual intercourse with Petitioner without consent.
- Stalking: Respondent caused Petitioner emotional distress or fear of death or injury by repeatedly following, harassing or threatening Petitioner in person, by phone, by mail, or by some other method.
- Deliberate Homicide or Mitigated Deliberate Homicide: Respondent killed Petitioner’ s partner or family member.
After reviewing a Petition for a TOP, the Justice of the Peace will determine whether there is sufficient cause to issue a temporary order. If issued, the Court will schedule a hearing, and the Respondent (the person against whom the TOP is issued) will be served a copy of the Petition and Order. At the hearing, the Judge will take testimony from both parties and determine if there is sufficient cause for an Order of Protection to be issued for a certain length of time, or if the case should be dismissed.
SAFE (Supporters of Abuse Free Environment) is able to provide assistance to individuals suffering from partner/family member abuse. They may also be able to provide temporary housing if the abused person must leave the home. The phone number for SAFE is 363-4600.
Last updated 4/10/2012 4:52:55 PM by Johnson, Ace