Protective orders are often referred to as restraining orders but are not the same. A protective order is the much more powerful of the two. A person found to be violating a protective order by a police officer may be arrested on the spot. Violating a restraining order will get you in trouble with the judge, but not the police.

Call the police, if someone has hurt you wrongfully. A police record is invaluable for getting a protective order. Also call the police, if a person has threatened you, indicated the intention and means (such as brandishing a deadly weapon) and if it is a reasonable fear that one would carry out a simple or aggravated assault.

Gather your evidence. You must have more than just your word to get a protective order. Pictures of bruises and scratches, written statements of witnesses, X-rays of fractures and concussions, DNA evidence, information on prior arrests or complaints and written threats are necessary evidence in a case like this.

Contact your local county attorney’s office. See sources below for example. Generally the county attorney’s office has a prosecutor whose office can help you fill out the forms and will appear at the eventual hearing on behalf of the state in your case.

Speak to a private attorney, if you are unable to obtain help through the county attorney’s office. This needs to be someone who understands the system and knows what the judges require to make an order.

File a motion or petition for protective order. This is a document that tells the judge what you want and why you want it. You will have to include an affidavit clearly stating why you are asking for the court’s protection.

Attend your hearing. If the county attorney is helping you, they need you there. You may not have to testify, but if you aren’t there it is difficult for them to help you. Dress well and remain calm. The other party may be there and may try to intimidate you. Remember that the courthouse is a safe place. There are law enforcement officers there to keep it that way.

Prepare an order for the judge’s signature, if after the hearing the judge issued a ruling granting your request. You or your attorney can prepare the order and take it to the Judge or the clerk to seek the needed signature.

File the order for serving the order, legal publication or courthouse posting or such as is done in that jurisdiction (and make appropriate legal notice to the actor).