Does a Harassment Order Go On Your Record? (Search Protection Order)

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Criminal Records | September 13, 2022

Does a harassment order go on your record, a man questions while looking at a harassment order background check on the right with a magnifying glass searching for an order of protection on your record, and a criminal record online showing on a computer screen on the left with a man asking how long does a harassment charge stay on your record with a blue question mark above his head.

Harassment Order Search
Background check searches criminal records for harassment orders, restraining orders, and orders of protection.

Although it can happen without official charges being filed, many individuals wonder, does a harassment order go on your record? The answer is both yes…and no.

Because harassment orders are very similar to protection orders (which can proceed with a restraining order, or be extended as a type of restraining order) they are typically considered public records. In other words, this sort of court-ordered document will usually show up on a level 2 criminal background check. This leads many people to wonder whether a failed background check after starting job tasks can happen. And it’s a legitimate concern, especially if the harassment order is (or was) work related.

Since many states have passed legislation that ensures anyone can look up protection orders, like a sex offender registry (which is designed to prevent crime by making people aware of potentially violent individuals), it’s important to understand the differences between these types of criminal records (like what disqualifies you from a level 2 background check) and how to search for them using official records.

However, accessing ‘protection orders’ is a bit different in every state and some states utilize different terms to explain the same thing, so how can it be done? The following guide provides all the information needed to answer “does a harassment order go on your record,” and delivers step-by-step instructions on how to search these types of orders in any state.

Keep in mind, if the harassment order was “sealed” or “expunged” through court processes, then it is erased from the record. Only certain law agencies will even be able to find it.

Civil Order Vs Criminal Order

Basically, if a civil order is issued for harassment or protection, this will NOT go on a criminal record. It will only appear on someone’s criminal record if that person violates the order.

A criminal protection order, or a criminal harassment order will show up on a background check as part of the criminal record.

Is A Harassment Order The Same As A Restraining Order? (Restraining Order Vs Order Of Protection)

Harassment order, restraining order, and order of protection are terms that are all used interchangeably at times, and different states have different meanings for each.

Although they are all quite similar there are important legal distinctions that separate one from the other, depending on the state where the order occurred. But the end result of all of these is the same, one individual is not allowed to go near another individual, business, piece of property, etc.

The real distinction lies in the time frame relative to the order and whether the order stems from a civil or criminal incident. For example, in some states, protection orders are issued quickly, designed to ensure someone’s safety, and they act as temporary restraining orders. Then, after a hearing, these orders will be transformed into a more lasting lasting restraining order or occasionally dropped for lack of evidence.

Related Reading: How to Find Someone’s Criminal Record Without them Knowing

Restraining Order (aka Harassment Order)

Legally speaking, the main difference between a restraining order and an order of protection is why they are filed. A restraining order is usually the result of a civil case and granted on a temporary basis. One individual will need probable cause to file a restraining order to protect themselves from abuse, violence, threats or other potential harm. This will be filed by an individual and then a judge will decide if the individual is in imminent danger to decide if the restraining order should be granted.

Remember that all states have their own terminology and processes (outlined below), but anyone can find out what shows up on fingerprint background check reports by contacting their state police department.

Order of Protection

On the other hand, an order of protection is usually the result of a criminal case. For example in a domestic abuse case, a judge may decide to file an order of protection in order to protect the alleged victim from their abuser. This will also extend to any witnesses and forbids the individual from having any contact with the defendant.

Although the end result is the same, an order of protection usually lasts the duration of the criminal case, whereas a restraining order will last up to 14 days after first being filed. During this 14-day period, there will be a hearing in front of a judge to decide whether or not the temporary restraining order will become a permanent restraining order.

Also, remember that laws can change frequently, like California background check laws, 2022 saw changes that impact what potential employers can see.

How Do You Search Harassment Orders on Your Record in All 50 States

Individuals who have had a restraining order filed against them will likely wonder “does a harassment order go on your record?” Unless the court documents have been sealed for some reason, all restraining orders are considered public information. Since searching public records is how background checks work, restraining orders will likely show up on the record.

Searching state court records (similar to the way for finding old arrest records) is a relatively easy and straightforward process. Since virtually every state has an online case search system for state court cases, the process can usually be completed in a few minutes.

Searching Harassment Orders

Individuals asking Does a harassment order go on your record will also be wondering how to find harassment order records. Luckily, this can be done fairly easily with the use of state court case search tools. This is also the method that can be used for how to find out if someone has a felony for free, since most searches are free to access, but a report will cost a small amount.

Step 1: Access the State Court website

The first thing to do is access the official state courts website for your specific state. This will have information about how to search the state court case search.

For example, the Montana judicial branch website has a link to search Montana Supreme Court dockets by name or case number.

Montana Judicial Branch screenshot website that can be used to learn does a restraining order go on someone's record, or does a harassment charge go on your record, with yellow arrow pointing to link for searching supreme court cases.

Step 2: Perform Search

Once the case search tool has been located, simply follow each state’s unique step to perform a search. The case number is usually the best way to perform the search but using the first and last name of an individual should also work. Yellow arrow pointing to public records search FAQs for Icourt project inforamtion site for Idaho, which can be used to find the answer to does an order of protection go on your record.
Keep in mind that some states may require users to create an account and or pay a small fee to perform searches and obtain results.

StateLawsCheck Restraining Order StatusPublic Record?
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in AlabamaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in ALYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in AlaskaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in AKYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in ArizonaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in AZYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in CaliforniaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in CAYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in ColoradoCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in COYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in ConnecticutCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in CTYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in DelawareCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in DEYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in FloridaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in FLYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in GeorgiaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in GAYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in HawaiiCivil Procedure Law Check Restraining Order Status in HIYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in IdahoCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in IDYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in IllinoisCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in ILYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in IndianaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in INYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in IowaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in IAYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in KansasCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in KSYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in KentuckyCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in KYYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in LouisianaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in LAYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in MaineCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in MEYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in MarylandCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in MDYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in MassachusettsCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in MAYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in MichiganCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in MIYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in MinnesotaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in MNYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in MissouriCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in MOYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in MississippiCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in MSYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in MontanaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in MTYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in NebraskaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in NEYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in NevadaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in NVYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in New HampshireCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in NHYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in New JerseyCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in NJYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in New MexicoCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in NMYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in New YorkCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in NYYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in North CarolinaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in NCYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in North DakotaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in NDYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in OhioCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in OHYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in OklahomaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in OKYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in OregonCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in ORYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in PennsylvaniaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in PAYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in Rhode IslandCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in RIYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in South CarolinaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in SCYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in South DakotaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in SDYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in TennesseeCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in TNYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in TexasCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in TXYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in UtahCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in UTYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in VermontCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in VTYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in VirginiaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in VIYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in WashingtonCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in WAYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in West VirginiaCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in WVYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in WisconsinCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in WIYes
Are Orders of Protection Public Record in WyomingCivil Procedure LawCheck Restraining Order Status in WYYes

Orders of Protection Rules: All 50 State

Each state has its own unique laws and rules regarding orders of protection. This includes when they can be filed, what they permit the individual to do and not do, as well as how long they can be enforced before the order of protection is dropped or renewed.

Legal document outlining how long an order of protection can stay on your record, as well as defining the terms used in harassment orders, protection orders and restraining orders.

For example, anyone can fill out a petition to have protection, harassment or restraining order filed. In general, most states grant these temporary orders without much delay.

However, the temporary order must be examined by a court to be changed into a lasting or permanent one.

A state’s legal code contains information on the specific regulations regarding the order of protection laws, which can often be found on the state judiciary website.

State Order of ProtectionLegal Code
Order of Protection Rules AL30-5-1
Order of Protection Rules AK18.66
Order of Protection Rules AZ13-3602
Order of Protection Rules CA273.6
Order of Protection Rules CO13-14-105(1)
Order of Protection Rules CTCGS 46b – 16a
Order of Protection Rules DETit. 10 1041
Order of Protection Rules FL741.30
Order of Protection Rules GA15 – 11 – 29
Order of Protection Rules HI586 – 11
Order of Protection Rules ID18 – 7907
Order of Protection Rules IL750 ILCS 60/214(a) 
Order of Protection Rules IN34-26-5-3(e)(2)
Order of Protection Rules IA664A.3
Order of Protection Rules KS60-31a06
Order of Protection Rules KY18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(8))
Order of Protection Rules LA14:79
Order of Protection Rules METitle 17- A 506-B
Order of Protection Rules MDRule 2-403
Order of Protection Rules MAChapter 208 Section 34C
Order of Protection Rules MI600.2950
Order of Protection Rules MN518B.01
Order of Protection Rules MO455.035
Order of Protection Rules MS93-21-15
Order of Protection Rules MT40-15-201
Order of Protection Rules NE49-924
Order of Protection Rules NV33.017
Order of Protection Rules NH173-B
Order of Protection Rules NJSection C 2C:14-16
Order of Protection Rules NM40-13-6
Order of Protection Rules NY530.13
Order of Protection Rules NCChapter 50B
Order of Protection Rules NDt14c07.1
Order of Protection Rules OH2919.27
Order of Protection Rules OK22-60.4
Order of Protection Rules OR107.700
Order of Protection Rules PAChapter 61 Title 23
Order of Protection Rules RI15-15-3
Order of Protection Rules SC20-4-60
Order of Protection Rules SD25-10-1
Order of Protection Rules TN22535 Order of Protection Benchmark
Order of Protection Rules TX25.07.4.1
Order of Protection Rules UT78B-7-1
Order of Protection Rules VT1101(2)
Order of Protection Rules VI19.2-152.10
Order of Protection Rules WARCW 26.50.030
Order of Protection Rules WV48-5-509(B)
Order of Protection Rules WI813.125
Order of Protection Rules WY35-21-108

How Long Does A Harassment Charge Stay On Your Record

In most states, a harassment charge will stay on your record indefinitely. Just like any other criminal record, most states do not have any laws regarding how long it can show up on a record.

Screenshot of West Virginia Judiciary page with yellow arrows pointing to information about protective orders, including extension of protection orders, protection orders and firearms, protection orders and child custody, and protection orders from divorce actions, which can also explain how long does a harassment charge stay on your record.

There are several states that are referred to as “seven-year states,” which only allow background checks to show criminal history information going back 7-10 years. (Related reading: How Far Back Do Background Checks Go?)

In short, harassment charges will stay on your record for as long as state law allows, which in most cases is an indefinite amount of time, especially if the order is connected to a recent arrest. What to know how to find recent arrests? Use the same steps outlined above, or follow the steps for finding out do police reports go on your record.

What Happens When There’s a Harassment Order or Restraining Order Violation?

Harassment orders and restraining order violations are very serious matters.

Those wondering “does a harassment order go on your record?” should know by now that the answer is yes, and the same is true for violations of the order. In general, what happens will depend on state law and the manner in which the restraining order was broken.

Kansas legislature screenshot with 2021 statute concerning protection from stalking act, which outlines what a restraining order can do, and what happens if you violate a restraining order or what happens if you violate a harassment order.

In most cases, this will be a misdemeanor at the very least, which can be punishable by jail time. More serious violations may result in felony charges.

Related Reading: How long do misdemeanors stay on your record? And: How to find out if someone is a felon.

Restraining orders are a serious matter. Individuals who find themselves on either side of a restraining order should contact an attorney. An attorney will be able to provide a more details about “Does a harassment order go on your record,” with an answer that is specific to local laws and the unique circumstances of the case.

Frequently Asked Questions about Does a Harassment Order Go On Your Record

Does An Order Of Protection Go On Your Record?

Yes, orders of protection are public information and will show up on an individual’s record.

How Long Does A Harassment Charge Stay On Your Record?

How long a harassment charge stays on your record will depend on state laws regarding criminal records. Most states allow harassment charges to stay on your record forever.

Does A Harassment Charge Go On Your Record?

Yes, Harassment charges will go on your record and show up on a criminal background check.

Does A Restraining Order Go On Someone's Record?

Restraining orders will go on your record in most cases. If for some reason the record is sealed it will not appear, but this is extremely rare.

How Long Does A Restraining Order Stay On Your Record?

A restraining order will stay on your record forever in most states. Some states have laws determining how long criminal records can appear on records, but most allow them to be on record forever.

What Proof Do You Need For A Restraining Order?

The exact proof will largely depend on the specific circumstances of the case, however, being able to prove that an individual poses an imminent threat to your health or safety is usually all that is required. Individuals considering filing a restraining order should contact an attorney.

Does A Harassment Order Go On Your Record?

Yes, harassment orders will go on your record the same as any other criminal history information would.

If Charges Are Dismissed, Do You Have a Criminal Record?

Many people with a harassment order wonder if charges are dismissed, do you have a criminal record? The answer varies. If the dismissed charges were expunged or sealed, then likely no, the record is clear. However, even dismissed charges can show up on a background check if not expunged.

Does a Dismissed Protection Order Show Up on a Background Check?

Unfortunately, charges that have been dismissed remain a part of public records in most cases. However, this depends on the original infraction as well as where it happened (which state and local jurisdiction).

Learn more: do dismissed charges show up on a background check?

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