Under certain circumstances, the person against whom a peace or protective order case was filed can keep the public from seeing information about the case. The person against whom the case was filed is the Respondent, and the person who filed for the case is the Petitioner.
If the peace or protective order was denied or dismissed, the Respondent can file a Request to Shield Records. If less than three (3) years has passed since the date of the denial or dismissal, the Respondent must also file a General Waiver and Release. The Respondent must mail a copy of the petition to the Petitioner, or the Respondent can file a Motion for Appropriate Relief if the address of the Petitioner is unknown.
Once the Court receives the Petition, it will schedule a hearing. Both the Petitioner and the Respondent will receive a Notice of the hearing, and both parties have a right to be present at the hearing.
The Court will grant the shielding request if all of the following are true: (1) the petition was denied or dismissed at either the interim, temporary, or final stage; (2) that a final protective order or peace order has not been previously issued against the respondent in a proceeding between the petitioner and the respondent; (3) that there is not currently pending an interim or temporary protective order or peace order issued against the respondent in a proceeding between the petitioner and respondent; and that there is not currently pending a criminal charge against the respondent arising from the alleged abuse against the petitioner.
If the Petitioner shows up at the hearing, he/she will be given an opportunity to explain why the Respondent’s Petition should be denied. The Court may deny the shielding for good cause. In determining whether good cause exists, the Court shall balance the privacy of the Respondent and the potential danger of adverse consequences to the Respondent against the potential risk of future harm and danger to the Petitioner and the community. Furthermore, if the Petitioner objects at the hearing, information about the proceeding will not be removed from Domestic Violence Central Repository.
It is important to note that once the Respondent’s request has been granted, it is only court records that are shielded. All records relating to the Peace or Protective Order will be removed from public record, but there will be records kept in a separate, secure area where the public cannot access the records.
An attorney can often assist in preparing the Petition and representing the Respondent at any hearing.