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How to file. A petition for an Injunction Against Harassment may be filed against any specific person who has conducted a series of acts deemed to be harassing in nature. A petition must be filed, followed by an appearance before a judge. The defendant has a right to be heard before the injunction can be issued unless it is shown that great or irreparable harm will result if issuing the injunction is delayed until after the defendant is heard. The injunction is not in effect until it is served on the defendant.
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Wednesday, except holidays
- A petition may be filed in any municipal, justice or superior court in the state, regardless of where you live.
What is harassment?
Harassment is a series of acts, two or more, which:
- Have occurred over a period of time, usually within the past year,
- must show a continuity of purpose,
- must be directed at a specific person,
- must seriously alarm, annoy, or harass the victim without serving a legitimate purpose,
- must be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress,
- must actually cause the victim to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Remember - you must be specific about how the defendant has harassed you. Just because the defendant annoyed or alarmed you does not mean you have been harassed in the legal sense. According to the law, harassment must involve a series of acts. A single incident, no matter how much it may bother you, does not constitute legal harassment. People cannot be precluded from taking legal action against you. Injunctions cannot resolve landlord-tenant disputes.
How do I file?
You must fill out the petition given to you by the court clerk. An order can only be issued against one person . Each person you want to file against requires a separate petition.You MUST provide the court with:
- The defendant's name, date of birth and description.
- An address at which the defendant can be legally served with the court's order
- A list of all acts of harassment that the defendant has committed within the past year, with specific dates if possible.
- Your address and phone number so we can contact you if the defendant requests a hearing. (Upon request, this information will be withheld from the defendant.)
You can request an Injunction Against Harassment without the address, but it is not in effect until the defendant is served.
You should tell the court if there are any other court proceedings -- in any court -- between you and the defendant. It does not matter if the court proceedings are going on now, or if they happened in the past; this court should be told about all of them.
After you complete the paperwork, you may go before the judge, who will review your petition. This appearance is usually on the same day. However, in non-emergency situations the judge may set the matter for a full hearing at a later date and give notice to the defendant to also appear.
Serving an injunction against harassment
If the judge issues the Injunction Against Harassment, you must have the defendant served with the injunction before it will be effective. Once an injunction has been served, it will be in effect for 12 months.
You may use a private process server, or you may use the Sedona Police Department to serve the injunction. If you elect to use the Sedona Police Department, there will be no service fee. However SPD will only serve the order within the Sedona city limits. If you use a private process server you are responsible for delivering the defendant's copy of the injunction to the process server and for paying a service fee and mileage.
Depending upon the availability of the defendant, it may take several weeks to serve your injunction.
If you do not presently know where the defendant is, or do not have an accurate address, you should keep a copy of the injunction. As soon as you learn where the defendant is, you can contact a private process server or the police, so that they may attempt to serve the defendant.
If the defendant is in jail, jail personnel will serve the injunction. If the defendant is in the process of being released, there may not be enough time to have service completed.
You have one year in which to have the defendant served. Once an injunction order has been served, it will be in effect for 12 months from the date of service.
The defendant may request a hearing on the injunction one time during the 12 months in which it is in effect. A hearing will be held within 10 days from the date requested unless the Court finds compelling reasons to continue the hearing.
If during the period of time your injunction order is in effect your circumstances change, you must appear in person to request a possible modification to your order.
Violation of the court order is a criminal charge
If the defendant violates the court order you should:
- Call 911 for emergencies
- If you only wish to file a police report, call the Sedona Police Department at (928) 282-3100. A decision to file criminal charges is made by the prosecutor's office, not by the court.