Protection Orders

questions & answers

Question: If someone puts an order of protection or a restraining order against me, it is good for 1 year from service. But how long after does it stay on my personal file.


This is a very common question, and derives from a misunderstanding about how the courts work. You do not have a "personal file" at the court clerk's office. The clerk has a case file, which contains the petitioner's original request for the protective order, any response filed by you, and minute entries or other court orders deciding the action. This case file will always be there, until such time as the clerk decides to archive or destroy the records. (In fact, the Maricopa County Superior Court is in the process of converting to electronic, paperless records, along with other jurisdictions as well.) The case file would be there even if the court decided to refuse the protective order when the petitioner made her ex parte application, or dismissed it after a contested hearing.

Similarly, the Superior Court website (which is open to the public) often contains electronic minute entries that show the court's decision concerning a protective order when it is associated with a pending family law case. But this is not your "personal file." It is simply a record of a case that was filed in the applicable court. So I am not sure from your question what exactly you mean by "personal file." If you're referring to the court clerk's office, I think I have answered your question. If you are referring to law enforcement records, then they too will keep a permanent record of the fact that a protective order was issued and served. That does not mean that the police necessarily believe that the protective order was justified, nor does it mean that anybody reviewing that record (assuming they're even entitled to access) would be inclined to believe so, either. This is especially true if the court never conducts a trial on the protective order before it expires after 12 months. Whether you choose to contest (fight) a protective order in court is entirely up to you. Some people don't bother with it, because they feel it isn't worth their time and hassle. Others oppose the measure because they don't appreciate the fact that the order was taken out against them in the first place, and they want some type of record showing that there was no merit to the petition.

You might want to confer with a private lawyer about other legal implications if you challenge the order. For example, if you request a hearing and lose, your right to possess or carry firearms may be restricted to a degree that would not have occurred if you had simply allowed the order to remain in effect without demanding a trial. I strongly suggest that you consult with an attorney before making a permanent decision about this issue.


  • If someone puts an order of protection or a restraining order against me, it is good for 1 year from service. But how long after does it stay on my personal file.




  • Please select your county of residence below.



  • State Bar of Arizona
  • Maricopa County Bar
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program


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