Glossary of Terms

A jury verdict that a criminal defendant is not guilty, or the finding of a judge that the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction.

A term used to describe evidence that may be considered by a jury or judge in civil and criminal cases.

A written or printed statement made under oath.

A legal procedure that declares a marriage is null from its inception.  Unlike divorce, the effect of declaring a marriage void is retroactive, meaning that the marriage was void at the time it was entered into.  An annulment is only granted with a showing of grounds, such as incest or insanity.

A request made after a trial by a party that has lost on one or more issues that a higher court review the decision to determine if it was correct. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the "appellant;" the other party is the "appellee."

A trial without a jury, in which the judge serves as the fact-finder.

A written statement that begins a civil lawsuit, in which the plaintiff details the claims against the defendant.

To keep an order in effect until the judicial officer can conduct a hearing to finalize or end the case. A case can be extended for a variety of reasons. If the judicial officer decides that a case needs to be continued, the case will be rescheduled to be heard again at later time. If the judicial officer has continued an order, the order will remain in effect until the hearing date.

The defendant is the person against whom a petition for a protective order has been filed. The defendant may ask for a hearing in order to defend himself or herself.

Also called “quashed.” An order is dismissed when a judicial officer removes the Order of Protection or the Injunction Against Harassment. Note: Only the court can dismiss an order. Even if the plaintiff and the defendant agree that the order should be dismissed, it is legally valid and enforceable until a judicial officer issues an order dismissing it.

Domestic violence is not just physical violence. It can include behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Different forms of domestic violence or abuse can be occurring at any one time within the same intimate relationship. Domestic violence is any behavior the purpose of which is to gain power and control over a spouse, partner, girl/boyfriend, or intimate family member.

For an Injunction Against Harassment (IAH), a series of acts over any period of time that are directed at a specific person and would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed, or harassed, and the conduct seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person and serves no legitimate purpose. A person who alleges one or more acts of sexual violence may file a petition for an IAH.

For an Injunction Against Workplace Harassment, a single threat or act of physical harm or damage or a series of acts over any period of time that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed or annoyed.

A judicial order that restrains a person from beginning or continuing an action threatening or invading the legal right of another, or that compels a person to carry out a certain act, e.g., to make restitution to an injured party.

An Injunction Against Harassment (IAH) is a legal restraint that orders a person to stop harassing, annoying, or alarming another person. Injunctions can be used for disputes between neighbors or strangers.

Harassment is defined as "a series of acts over any period of time that is directed at a specific person..." or "one or more acts of sexual violence." Therefore, more than one act of harassment has to have occurred to qualify for an IAH. For an IAH, the plaintiff may have to hire a process server to deliver the petition and the order to the defendant. The IAH law can be found at A.R.S. § 12-1809.

An Injunction Against Workplace Harassment (IAWH) allows an employer or an agent of an employer to file for relief on behalf of all employees at the workplace, any person who enters the employer's property, and any person who is performing official work duties. This allows the inclusion of numerous people under the protective umbrella of this injunction, whereas the Injunction Against Harassment is between two people. The Injunction Against Workplace Harassment law can be found at A.R.S. § 12-1810.

For an IAWH, harassment is defined as "a single threat or act of physical harm or damage or a series of acts over a period of time that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed or annoyed."

The official working hours during which the court is open for business. Weekends and holidays are not included. For example, an Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) is valid until the end of the next judicial business day. If an Emergency Order of Protection is issued on Friday night, the next judicial business day is Monday. A plaintiff who still needs protection after the EOP expires must file a petition for an Order of Protection before the end of the next judicial business day.

An elected or appointed judge, commissioner, justice of the peace or magistrate.

A court order issued by a judge, commissioner, justice of the peace or magistrate that stops a defendant from doing certain acts.

To change. The plaintiff or the defendant may request specific changes be made to the Order of Protection or the Injunction Against Harassment. If the judicial officer agrees and makes the change at a hearing, the Order of Protection or the Injunction Against Harassment is considered "modified." A modified Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment must be served upon the defendant again.

National Crime Information Center (stores information on Protective Orders)

An Order of Protection is a legal restraint used to prohibit a person from committing acts of domestic violence or from contacting other people protected by the order. It can also provide other protective relief, such as removing firearms from the home, adding other people to the protective order, or giving exclusive use of the home to the plaintiff. The Order of Protection law can be found at A.R.S. § 13-3602.

A person who believes her or his safety is in danger because of domestic violence or harass-ment can ask the court for an Order of Protection (OP) or an Injunction Against Harassment (IAH). What determines the type of order that should be issued? The relationship between the person in danger and the person causing the danger is the deciding factor between an OP and an IAH.

"Pending" means, with respect to an action for annulment, legal separation, or dissolution of marriage or for maternity or paternity, either that:

1. An action has been commenced but a final judgement decree, or order has not been entered

2. A post-decree proceeding has been commenced, but a judgement, decree, or order finally determining the proceeding has not entered.

A formal written request to a court for an order of the court. It is distinguished from a complaint in a lawsuit which asks for damages and/or performance by the opposing party. Petitions include demands for writs, orders to show cause, modifications of prior orders, continuances, dismissal of a case, reduction of bail in criminal cases, a decree of distribution of an estate, appointment of a guardian, and a host of other matters arising in legal actions.  The court will provide a blank petition for the plaintiff to complete. The petition is then filed with the court, and if the judicial officer issues the protective order, a copy of the petition, along with the order, must be served on the defendant.

The plaintiff is the person who files a petition with the court for a protective order.

A protective order is a document obtained from a court to order the defendant not to contact the plaintiff and to prevent abusive behavior.

To dismiss. An order is quashed when a judicial officer removes the Order of Protection or the Injunction Against Harassment. Note: Only the court can quash an order. Even if the plaintiff and the defendant agree that the order should be dismissed, it is legally valid and enforceable until a judicial officer issues an order quashing it.

Arizona law provides that when a person arrested for an act of domestic violence is released from custody, any release order must include pretrial release conditions necessary to protect the alleged victim and other specifically designated persons.

Within 24 hours after a defendant is arrested for an act of domestic violence, the court must forward a certified copy of the release order to the sheriff of the county in which the order was issued for registration. The sheriff must maintain a central repository for release orders so the existence and validity of the release order can be easily verified.

Law enforcement agencies are required to advise domestic violence victims where registration and the conditions of a release order may be verified. Faced with a violation of a release order, a victim may summon a peace officer to enforce the conditions of the order against the defendant.

A temporary court order issued to prohibit an individual from carrying out a particular action, especially approaching or contacting a specified person.

"Service" or "served" means that the defendant is provided with a copy of the petition that was filed out along with the Order of Protection or the Injunction Against Harassment. Once an Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment is issued by the judge, the person seeking protection (Petitioner) needs to request that it be served on the defendant. Legal papers must be served by certain people in a particular way according to court rules (Rules 4.1 and 4.2 of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure). A plaintiff may not serve the papers. A private process server or a law enforcement agency can perform the service. NOTE: Remember, the order or injunction is not effective until it is served on the defendant.