New Hampshire Restraining Orders: Domestic Violence Protective Orders and Stalking Orders

There are two types of restraining orders in New Hampshire: domestic violence protective orders (RSA 173-B) and stalking petitions (for violation of RSA 633:3-a). Domestic violence restraining orders are typically sought if the parties have a preexisting or current intimate relationship or are family or household members. Stalking petitions can be sought against anyone. One more important distinction between domestic violence and stalking petitions is that stalking petitions require proof of a course of conduct under RSA 633:3-a. This can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, but therefore requires more than one isolated act.

Judges order temporary orders on an ex-parte basis (without a hearing or notifying the respondent). Common conditions of temporary orders include ordering one party to stay away from the protected party’s home or place of employment as well as firearm forfeiture.

Reis & O’Keefe defend against these orders if one is unjustly sought against you. Our attorneys also help victims of domestic violence or stalking to obtain protective orders.

Procedure and Penalties for New Hampshire Orders of Protection

New Hampshire courts follow the same procedure and require the same burden of proof (preponderance of the evidence) to grant an order of protection pursuant to either a domestic violence or stalking petition. The final order is valid for one year, but may be renewed up to five years. Further, RSA 173-B:9, I(a) requires that police arrest and refer for prosecution someone who violates a violation of a temporary or permanent order.

5-Day Final Hearing After a Temporary Protective Order

A respondent may seek to have a final hearing within five days of the court granting a temporary order. The hearing will occur no less than three, but no more than five days from the issuance of the temporary order upon the respondent’s written request. High tension and emotion are natural to these proceedings. It may be wise to consult with a lawyer before demanding such a rapid hearing that carries significant long-term consequences when tempers are still high.

Domestic Violence Protective Order Final Hearings: 2 Steps

Step 1. Crime of Abuse

For a domestic violence protective order, first, the Court must find by a preponderance of the evidence that the accused committed a crime of abuse. Those are listed below. It is not necessary that a criminal proceeding or arrest occur, this is a separate evidentiary process.

  • Criminal Threatening
  • 1st & 2nd degree assault
  • Sexual Assault
  • Simple Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Cruelty to Animals
  • Arson
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Burglary
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Harassment

Step 2. Present & Credible Threat

A Court will then issue the order if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that: 1) a threat to the safety of the petitioner exists, and 2) the threat is BOTH present and credible. The New Hampshire Supreme Court has explained that a credible present threat requires “more than a generalized fear for personal safety.” Knight v. Maher, 161 N.H. 742, 745 (2011).

Get Help from an Attorney for a New Hampshire Restraining Order

Attorneys Reis and O’Keefe are available for a free consultation in defending against or obtaining a domestic violence or stalking order of protection. Based in Portsmouth, we work throughout the seacoast area and elsewhere in New Hampshire. Contact us today.

About Our Team

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Kevin O'Keefe has represented thousands of clients in all areas of criminal law. Before establishing Reis & O'Keefe, Kevin was an attorney with the New Hampshire Public Defender.
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James B. Reis's Profile Image
James Reis started out at the New Hampshire Public Defender in 2000. Throughout the years, Jim has steadfastly protected the rights of nearly four thousand clients.
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