How to file a TPO

There are legal means to protect your privacy, health and space

Barbara Spring, director of the Protection Order of Washoe County, says filing a Temporary Protection Order can be a long process.

Barbara Spring, director of the Protection Order of Washoe County, says filing a Temporary Protection Order can be a long process.

Photo By David Robert

According to Barbara Spring, director of the Protection Order Project of Washoe County, filing a temporary protection order (TPO, also known as restraining orders or civil protection orders) can be a long process. Before your request will be considered, petitioners must meet two requirements:

1. You and the person you’re filing against are related by blood, have been married, live and/or lived together, have at least one child together or have dated.

2. You have been the victim of an act of violence, such as a battery, an assault, or “a purposeful course of conduct meant to harass you,” such as stalking.

If you meet these two requirements and want to put some space between you and the person who’s threatening you, go to the third floor of the Washoe County Family Courthouse, 1 S. Sierra St., and turn right down the hall to room 308. But you can’t just walk in. Instead, pick up the phone, and dial the number on the wall. You have to tell the advocates your name, and you’ll be allowed inside to continue the process.

Once inside, you and your advocate will start the application for a TPO. It requires detailed information about your relationship with the person you wish to file against.

Next, you’ll write facts to support your need for a TPO, beginning with the most recent event. Be as specific as possible in this section, and come prepared to relate past events to support your case.

Once you’ve detailed past offenses, you have to include specifics in regards to what your TPO will entail. Though all require the adversary to remain 100 yards from your residence, each TPO can be tailored according to need to include additional precautions. For instance, TPOs can keep someone from harassing you in other public places (other than your home), such as at school or work.

Your next interview will be with a Domestic Master/Judge in what is called an ex parte (or informal) hearing, which will take place on the first floor of the same building. The judge will decide whether you will be granted a TPO.

If your application is approved, the TPO won’t be effective until the papers are served by the Sheriff’s Civil Division to the person you’re filing against.

If your application is denied, you don’t have a TPO. You’ll have to apply again.

TPOs can last up to one year. Beyond a year, you’ll have to apply for a new one.

Finally, if you do not meet the first requirement to file a TPO (having some close connection with your stalker, for instance) there is another option open to you. You can file a Stalking Harassment Order with the Reno Justice Court, which offers the same protection as a TPO.