What is an injunction against harassment?
An injunction against harassment is a type of protective order issued by a court that prevents another person from harassing you. If the person against whom you obtain the order continues to harass you in violation of the order, they can be criminally prosecuted. Like all protective orders in Arizona, an injunction against harassment is effective for one year. The process to obtain an injunction against harassment is the same as for an order of protection, subject to the conditions below.
What do you need to allege to obtain an injunction against harassment?
Not surprisingly, you need to allege that someone has been harassing you. For purposes of obtaining an injunction against harassment, harassment is defined in A.R.S. 12-1809 as:
“a series of acts over any period of time that is directed at a specific person and that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed and the conduct in fact seriously alarms, annoys or harasses the person and serves no legitimate purpose. Harassment includes unlawful picketing, trespassory assembly, unlawful mass assembly, concerted interference with lawful exercise of business activity and engaging in a secondary boycott as defined in section 23-1321 and defamation in violation of section 23-1325.”
An example of harassment might be someone who calls and texts you multiple times per day over a period of weeks, telling you that they are watching you and they’re “going to get you!”
A single act of harassment is not sufficient; you will need to allege a series of acts, over a period of time. How many acts constitute a series, and over what period of time, is subjective and may vary depending on the judge. As the number and frequency of the acts increase though, so will the odds that the court will grant your injunction.
How is an injunction against harassment different from an order of protection?
There are three primary ways an injunction against harassment is different from an order of protection.
There is no relationship requirement.
To obtain an order of protection against someone, both parties must be related in some manner – they must have been married at some point, or lived together at some point, or have a child together, or be related through blood or marriage, or have been in a romantic relationship.
You do not need to allege an act of domestic violence.
To obtain an order of protection, you need to allege an act of domestic violence. This is related to the relationship requirement because it is the relationship of the parties that turns an act of assault or disorderly conduct, for example, into an act of domestic violence. If you hit a stranger, that is assault. If you hit your wife, that is an act of domestic violence because of the marriage relationship. If you yell at a stranger, disorderly conduct; if you yell at your wife, domestic violence.
You need to allege a series of incidents.
For an order of protection, you need only allege that a single act of domestic violence has occurred (or will occur). To obtain an injunction against harassment, you need to allege a series of harassing events.