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New Hampshire Protective Orders Laws

Protective orders, also known as restraining orders or orders of protection, are ordered by courts upon the request of an individual who feels legitimately threatened by the actions of another person. Protective orders are often used to protect the victims of domestic violence or stalking. The person named in the protective order is required to avoid contact and stay a certain distance away from the person seeking the order for a specified amount of time, sometimes lasting up to a year or more.

The maximum duration of a protective order in New Hampshire is one year, but it may be extended in some circumstances. Violation of a restraining order is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, while subsequent violations typically are treated as felonies.

This article provides a brief overview of protective order laws in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Protective Order Laws: At a Glance

Additional provisions of New Hampshire's protective orders statute are listed in the following chart. See FindLaw's Domestic Violence section for additional articles and resources.

Code Section

§ 173B et seq. of the New Hampshire Revised Statutes

Activity Addressed by Order

Enjoin contact; exclude from dwelling, school, employment; regarding minors: temporary custody, visitations, support; counseling; court costs and attorney fees, relinquishment of weapons and firearms; restraining the defendant from taking, converting, or damaging property in which the plaintiff may have a legal or equitable interest; granting the petitioner exclusive care, custody, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the petitioner, defendant, or a minor child in either household, and ordering the defendant to stay away from the animal and forbidding the defendant from taking, transferring, encumbering, concealing, committing an act of cruelty or neglect, or disposing of the animal; ordering the defendant to make automobile, insurance, health care, utilities, rent, or mortgage payments

Duration of Order

Maximum: one year, may be extended

Penalty for a Violation of Order

Willful violation: contempt of court; knowingly violation: Class A misdemeanor; subsequent violations will result in enhanced penalties

Who May Apply for Order

Any person; a minor petitioner need not be accompanied by a parent or guardian; "family or household member" means spouses, ex-spouses, persons cohabiting with each other, and persons who cohabited with each other but who no longer share the same residence; parents and other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, other than minor children who reside with the defendant; a current or former sexual or intimate partner

Can Fees Be Waived?


Order Transmission to Law Enforcement

Copy to the department of safety and local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction to enforce the order

Civil Liability for Violation of Order

Yes, contempt of court

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

New Hampshire Protective Order Laws: Related Resources

Get Help with a Protective Order Today

If someone is hurting you or threatening to hurt you, there are resources available for you when you're ready. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for 24/7/365 support at 800-799-7233. If you've been abused or fear someone may abuse you in the near future, you may want to get a protective order.

Please contact a New Hampshire domestic violence attorney for help.

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