Petitions for protection orders are available at the Circuit Court as well as at Teton County Victim Services. There are two types of Protection Orders that Victim Services can assist with, Stalking and Domestic Violence. To be granted a stalking protection order, the petitioner must be able to show or articulate a pattern of behavior that would cause a reasonable person fear or harm. Stalking does not have to be a person lurking outside an establishment and following a victim home. It can be repeated conduct or contact after a person has asked for no further contact. For example if a person tells his ex-girlfriend that he would like no further contact and then the ex-girlfriend continues to text him, call him, make comments and posts on social media, or continues to send flowers and gifts; that can illustrate unwanted contact. Domestic violence protection orders require some form of domestic violence to have occurred in the past between the petitioner and the respondent (the person whom the petition is filed against). Domestic violence can be physical harm, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, etc. occurring between people who are or once were living together. The participants do not have to be or have been in a dating relationship; they could be room-mates.
Anyone can fill out a petition and file it with Circuit court and request a hearing seeking a protection order; however documentation and being able to articulate the need for an Order to the Judge is necessary for the order to be issued. Victim services can assist in filling out the paperwork but the petitioner will need to write a narrative to be included with the petition explaining to the judge what has happened and why the petitioner feels that a protection order is needed. After completing the petition packet, attaching the narrative, and any supporting documents or photos, the petitioner will need to file the paperwork with the clerk of circuit court and sign it in front of their notary. The judge will review the petition and will determine if an Ex Parte Order shall be issued (a temporary protection order). The judge will then determine if there is enough to proceed and will then set a court date for a hearing. Both the petitioner and the respondent will be served notice of the court setting. The petitioner must attend court to request a protection order be issued, but the respondent is not required to attend. Attorneys are welcome assistance in the protection order process but are not necessary to the court proceedings. The Judge will allow both sides to present relevant testimony and evidence and will determine if a Protection Order shall be issued and how long it shall be in place. A protection order can be in place for up to a year and a petitioner can request that the order be extended, modified, or terminated with in that year. Protection orders offer assistance and possible criminal penalties if they are violated. They are valid across state lines- so if you have an order issued from Arizona it is valid in Wyoming. If the respondent violates the protection order after it is issued, they can be cited into criminal court and can face jail time depending on the extent of the violation. For further information or assistance on protection orders, please contact Teton County Victim Services at 307.732.8482