Military Protective Orders and Civilian Order of Protection

Experiencing domestic violence or other crimes may make someone feel unsafe, even in their own home. A Military Protective Order (MPO) and an Order of Protection are documents that prohibit one person from coming into contact with another.  

Where should I go for an Order of Protection? 

When abuse takes place and there is a service member involved, where to go for an Order of Protection depends on where the abuse occurred and the military status of the victim/offender: 

  • If BOTH individuals are members of the military, a Military Protective Order (MOP) should be requested, 
  • If the VICTIM has a child with the OFFENDER, and either parent is in the military, the victim may decide if an Order of Protection with the military or the state would be the more effective option. 
  • If the OFFENDER is a service member and the victim is a civilian, who does not live on base, an Order of Protection should be requested through a state court. 
  • If the VICTIM is a service member and the OFFENDER is a civilian, an Order of Protection should be requested through a state court. 
  • If the abuse took place outside of the United States, and EITHER parent is in the military, a MOP should be requested.  

What is a Military Protective Order? 

 A Military Protective Order (MPO) is a tool used by military command to keep victims of domestic abuse and their children safe. A person does not have to be in the military to request an MPO.  

 MPOs are only enforceable at the military base where the request for an MPO was made. If the offender is transferred to a different command, meaning they are placed to serve somewhere else, the approved MPO is no longer valid and an approval by the new commander will be needed for another MPO.  

When there is a change of command, the old commander may request a new MPO to be issued. 

Who can get a Military Protective Order (MPO)? 

To request an MPO, the offender needs be an active-duty member who is: 

  • A spouse or ex-spouse, 
  • A current or past intimate partner if you lived together, and/or  
  • Someone with whom you share a child with.  

What protections do I get with an MPO? 

Depending on how the commander organizes the MPO, the order may give specific orders to the offender on how their interaction with the victim(s) is, limited. . For example: 

  • Have no contact with the victim or their children including: 
  • Face-to-face; 
  • By cellphone; 
  • Writing/email; 
  • Social media; or 
  • Through another person; 
  • Staying away from the family home, no matter if it is on or off base; 
  • Staying away from a child’s school, day-care, or youth program; 
  • Staying away from the victim’s place of employment; and/or 
  • Attending counseling. 

While civilian offenders cannot be held accountable by issuing an MPO, the commanding officer may ban the offender from entering the military installation.  

When an MPO is issued, the victim should request a copy of the document for their records. It is important for the victim to have this document with them at all times in case they are in danger and need to call the military law enforcement to enforce the order. 

How can I get an MPO? 

Since getting an MPO does not require a state court, there is no need to hold a trial or hearing for the MPO. Meaning, a victim does not have to see a judge, testify, or be in the same room as the offender.  

Ultimately, a commander decides if issuing an MPO for a victim’s safety is reasonable. While a victim may approach the commander directly to request an MPO, the following people may also request an MPO from the commander:  

  • A victim advocate, 
  • Installation (military) law enforcement, or 
  • A Family Advocacy Program (FAP) clinician. 

Issuing an MPO is not a time-consuming process; not needing to serve a notice to the offender, hold a hearing, or listen to testimony makes requesting and issuing an MPO fast. 

To contact the nearest Family Advocacy Program, use this portal: [Military Installations Search] 

How long does a MPO last?  

MPOs tend to be short-term. While they can be issued to be as little as 10 days long, they can always be updated by commander for an extended period. 

The commander’s decision on how long to make the MPO depends on how long the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) takes to gather information for the commander about the incident and past abuse. Typically, an estimated expiration date is set for the MPO that should allow for enough time for FAP to review the case and for the situation to improve. An MPO may be shortened if all documentation was gathered and there is no longer a need for an MPO 

NOTE: MPOs become invalid if the offender is moved to a different base and changes command. A second MPO would need to be approved by the new commander.  

Can pets be included in an MPO? 

Yes, they can be. Under Section 7(m) of an MPO (DD FORM2873) a request may be made to include pets. Under Section 5, the victim may include details about the harm or threats that the offender made to the pets.  

What happens if the offender does not follow the MPO? 

If the offender violates a MPO or a civilian Order of Protection in a military installation, the military law enforcement should be called. The victim should notify the military law enforcement that they have an MPO or civilian Order of Protection in place.  
Military law enforcement are instructed to notify the commander if they are called about a service member violating an MPO or an Order of Protection. Victims may  also reach out to the victim advocate to report the violation, since this incident suggests an increase of risk. 

If the offender does not follow the orders of the MPO, this is considered as disobeying direct orders. They may be persecuted through the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), under Article 92, Failure to Obey Order or Regulation. Violation of an MPO may have several different consequences including: 

  • Non-judicial punishment, 
  • Court-martial proceedings, and 
  • Other disciplinary measures. 

What if the offender did not follow the MPO outside of the military installation? 

Since an MPO is only enforceable at a military installation, civilian police are not required to enforce an MPO. However, it is still recommended to call local authorities if you feel at risk of being harmed.  

While civil police cannot enforce an MPO, they may still report the MPO violation to the military law enforcement who are instructed to inform the commander of any MPO violations.  

Once the commander is informed, they may revisit the consequences set for the offender since violating the MPO may be seen as violating an order.  

What are the major differences between an MPO and a civilian Order of Protection? 

Both an MPO and a civilian Order of Protection are intended to stop the offender from committing domestic violence and from contacting people listed in the order. 

Military Protective Order (MPO) 

Civilian Order of Protection 

Pros: 

  • Faster to obtain. 
  • No cost to the victim. 
  • Restricted or Unrestricted reporting options available. 
  • No need for a hearing, meaning not having to be in the same room as the offender. 
  • Resources and support available through the Family Advocacy Program (FAP). 

Pros: 

  • May be enforced on and off a military installation. 
  • No cost to the victim. 
  • Orders may last longer than an MPO 
  • Distinct types of Order of Protections are available. 
  • Resources and support available through Arizona Protective Order Initiation and Notification Tool (AZPOINT). 

Cons: 

  • May be only enforced in a military installation. 
  • If offender moves to a different installation, a new MPO is needed.  
  • MPOs are typically short-term 

Cons: 

  • Slower to obtain. 
  • A hearing needs to be held, which may require the victim to be in the same room as the offender.  

 

Service members who do not follow a civilian Order of Protection may be subject to administrative and/or disciplinary action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Additionally, the civil court judge who issued the civilian Order of Protection may also punish the offender for violating the order even though it took place on a military installation.  

A MPO may be submitted and approved a lot faster since there is no due process required. For a civilian Order of Protection, due process is required which may mean both the victim and the offender going to court and testifying, which may take longer to do.  

How can I get a civilian Order of Protection in Arizona? 

Filing for an Order of Protection may either be done using the online Arizona Protective Order Initiation and Notification Tool (AZPOINT) system or using a paper application [Find forms at azcourthelp.org]. This portal will help victims determine if they have a qualifying relationship for an Order of Protection. AZPOINT may also connect applicants to a victim advocate, to assist with making a safety plan, and providing support at the court hearing.  

Once the victim completes their online or paper application, the petition may be filed with any courthouse in Arizona.  

Find the nearest Arizona court: [Button] 

If the judge issues the Order of Protection, the court will send a copy to law enforcement (local police, county sheriff, or constable) to serve notice to the offender. When the order is filed there will be an opportunity for a hearing if the offender disagrees with the protective order. At the hearing, both sides will be allowed to speak in front of a judge and explain why the order should or should not be granted. 

What is a qualifying relationship for an Order of Protection?  

The plaintiff and the defendant must have one of the following relationships:  
•    Married now or in the past,  
•    Live in the same household now or lived in the same household in the past, 
•    Parents of a child in common, 
•    One person is pregnant by the other,  
•    The individuals are related by blood or marriage (such as parent, parents of a spouse, brother, sister, grandparent, non-biological sibling), or 
•    The individuals have a current or previous romantic or sexual relationship. 

For frequently asked questions about AZPoint, click here 

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Are there other types of Order of Protection in Arizona? 

There are 4 other types of Orders of Protection, or injunctions, that are available to residents of Arizona: 

  • Emergency Order of Protection 
  • Release Order (issued in rural counties when a judicial official is not available) 
  • Injunction Against Harassment 
  • Injunction Against Workplace Harassment 

Each of these types of specific uses but all are meant to distance an offender or problematic people. 

An Emergency Order of Protection is only given when the courts are closed. The process is handled by local law enforcement. This order is valid for 72 hours (about 3 days).  

A Release Order is issued by the sheriff’s office to individuals who are arrested for an act of domestic violence and are released from custody. Release orders are given in rural counties that may not have an emergency judge when the courts are closed.  

An Injunction Against Harassment is a legal document that orders someone from harassing, annoying, or alarming another person. There is a fee to process and deliver this injunction unless the injunction is regarding sexual harassment.  

An Injunction Against Workplace Harassment allows an employer to file on behalf of all their employees to keep away someone who threatens or annoys employees.  

For more information on orders of protections and injunctions and how to apply [Visit azcrimevictimhelp.org]

What is the cost to get an Order of Protection?  

By law there is no cost for requesting an Order of Protection, Injunction Against Harassment, Emergency Order of Protection, or Release Order.  

Fees may be charged to an employer to file an Injunction Against Workplace Harassment (IAWH) or to have the IAWH be served. The fees depend on the type of courthouse where the IAWH was filed at. An employer may ask for the court where they are filing to waive or defer fees. 

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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