Nebraska Revised Statute 28-311.09
Harassment protection order; violation; penalty; procedure; costs; enforcement.
(1) Any victim who has been harassed as defined by section 28-311.02 may file a petition and affidavit for a harassment protection order as provided in subsection (3) of this section. Upon the filing of such a petition and affidavit in support thereof, the court may issue a harassment protection order without bond enjoining the respondent from (a) imposing any restraint upon the person or liberty of the petitioner, (b) harassing, threatening, assaulting, molesting, attacking, or otherwise disturbing the peace of the petitioner, or (c) telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating with the petitioner. The harassment protection order shall specify to whom relief under this section was granted.
(2) The petition for a harassment protection order shall state the events and dates or approximate dates of acts constituting the alleged harassment, including the most recent and most severe incident or incidents.
(3) A petition for a harassment protection order shall be filed with the clerk of the district court, and the proceeding may be heard by the county court or the district court as provided in section 25-2740.
(4) A petition for a harassment protection order filed pursuant to subsection (1) of this section may not be withdrawn except upon order of the court. An order issued pursuant to subsection (1) of this section shall specify that it is effective for a period of one year unless otherwise dismissed or modified by the court. Any person, except the petitioner, who knowingly violates an order issued pursuant to subsection (1) of this section after service or notice as described in subdivision (9)(b) of this section shall be guilty of a Class II misdemeanor.
(5)(a) Fees to cover costs associated with the filing of a petition for a harassment protection order or the issuance or service of a harassment protection order seeking only the relief provided by this section shall not be charged, except that a court may assess such fees and costs if the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the statements contained in the petition were false and that the harassment protection order was sought in bad faith.
(b) A court may also assess costs associated with the filing of a petition for a harassment protection order or the issuance or service of a harassment protection order seeking only the relief provided by this section against the respondent.
(6) The clerk of the district court shall make available standard application and affidavit forms for a harassment protection order with instructions for completion to be used by a petitioner. Affidavit forms shall request all relevant information, including, but not limited to: A description of the incidents that are the basis for the application for a harassment protection order, including the most severe incident, and the date or approximate date of such incidents. The clerk and his or her employees shall not provide assistance in completing the forms. The State Court Administrator shall adopt and promulgate the standard application and affidavit forms provided for in this section as well as the standard temporary ex parte and final harassment protection order forms and provide a copy of such forms to all clerks of the district courts in this state. These standard temporary ex parte and final harassment protection order forms shall be the only such forms used in this state.
(7) Any order issued under subsection (1) of this section may be issued ex parte without notice to the respondent if it reasonably appears from the specific facts shown by affidavit of the petitioner that irreparable harm, loss, or damage will result before the matter can be heard on notice. If the specific facts included in the affidavit (a) do not show that the petitioner will suffer irreparable harm, loss, or damage or (b) show that, for any other compelling reason, an ex parte order should not be issued, the court may forthwith cause notice of the application to be given to the respondent stating that he or she may show cause, not more than fourteen days after service, why such order should not be entered. Any notice provided to the respondent shall include notification that a court may treat a petition for a harassment protection order as a petition for a sexual assault protection order or a domestic abuse protection order if it appears from the facts that such other protection order is more appropriate and that the respondent shall have an opportunity to show cause as to why such protection order should not be entered. If such ex parte order is issued without notice to the respondent, the court shall forthwith cause notice of the petition and order and a form with which to request a show-cause hearing to be given the respondent stating that, upon service on the respondent, the order shall remain in effect for a period of one year unless the respondent shows cause why the order should not remain in effect for a period of one year. If the respondent wishes to appear and show cause why the order should not remain in effect for a period of one year, he or she shall affix his or her current address, telephone number, and signature to the form and return it to the clerk of the district court within ten business days after service upon him or her. Upon receipt of a timely request for a show-cause hearing, the court shall immediately schedule a show-cause hearing to be held within thirty days after the receipt of the request for a show-cause hearing and shall notify the petitioner and respondent of the hearing date. If a petition is dismissed without a hearing, it shall be dismissed without prejudice. The petition and affidavit shall be deemed to have been offered into evidence at any show-cause hearing. The petition and affidavit shall be admitted into evidence unless specifically excluded by the court.
(8) A court may treat a petition for a harassment protection order as a petition for a sexual assault protection order or a domestic abuse protection order if it appears from the facts in the petition, affidavit, and evidence presented at a show-cause hearing that such other protection order is more appropriate and if:
(a) The court makes specific findings that such other order is more appropriate; or
(b) The petitioner has requested the court to so treat the petition.
(9)(a) Upon the issuance of any temporary ex parte or final harassment protection order, the clerk of the court shall forthwith provide the petitioner, without charge, with two certified copies of such order. The clerk of the court shall also forthwith provide the local police department or local law enforcement agency and the local sheriff's office, without charge, with one copy each of such order and one copy each of the sheriff's return thereon. The clerk of the court shall also forthwith provide a copy of the harassment protection order to the sheriff's office in the county where the respondent may be personally served together with instructions for service. Upon receipt of the order and instructions for service, such sheriff's office shall forthwith serve the harassment protection order upon the respondent and file its return thereon with the clerk of the court which issued the harassment protection order within fourteen days of the issuance of the harassment protection order. If any harassment protection order is dismissed or modified by the court, the clerk of the court shall forthwith provide the local police department or local law enforcement agency and the local sheriff's office, without charge, with one copy each of the order of dismissal or modification.
(b) If the respondent is present at a hearing convened pursuant to this section and the harassment protection order is not dismissed, such respondent shall be deemed to have notice by the court at such hearing that the harassment protection order will be granted and remain in effect and further service of such notice described in this subsection shall not be required for purposes of prosecution under this section.
(c) A temporary ex parte harassment protection order shall be affirmed and deemed the final protection order and service of the temporary ex parte order shall be notice of the final protection order if the respondent has been properly served with the ex parte order and:
(i) The respondent fails to request a show-cause hearing within ten business days after service upon him or her and no hearing was requested by the petitioner or upon the court's own motion;
(ii) The respondent has been properly served with notice of any hearing requested by the respondent or petitioner or upon the court's own motion and the respondent fails to appear at such hearing; or
(iii) The respondent has been properly served with notice of any hearing requested by the respondent, the petitioner, or upon the court's own motion and the protection order was not dismissed at the hearing.
(10) A peace officer may, with or without a warrant, arrest a person if (a) the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed a violation of a harassment protection order issued pursuant to this section or a violation of a valid foreign harassment protection order recognized pursuant to section 28-311.10 and (b) a petitioner under this section provides the peace officer with a copy of a harassment protection order or the peace officer determines that such an order exists after communicating with the local law enforcement agency or a person protected under a valid foreign harassment protection order recognized pursuant to section 28-311.10 provides the peace officer with a copy of such order.
(11) A peace officer making an arrest pursuant to subsection (10) of this section shall take such person into custody and take such person before the county court or the court which issued the harassment protection order within a reasonable time. At such time the court shall establish the conditions of such person's release from custody, including the determination of bond or recognizance, as the case may be. The court shall issue an order directing that such person shall have no contact with the alleged victim of the harassment.
(12) When provided by the petitioner, the court shall make confidential numeric victim identification information, including social security numbers and dates of birth, available to appropriate criminal justice agencies engaged in protection order enforcement efforts. Such agencies shall maintain the confidentiality of this information except for entry into state and federal databases for protection order enforcement.
"[A]ppear," as it is found in subdivision (8)(b) of this section, is not narrowly confined to require the presence of a respondent in person. Rather, it is the same as any other "appearance" in court. Weatherly v. Cochran, 301 Neb. 426, 918 N.W.2d 868 (2018).
Under this section, a respondent is entitled to appear by and through his or her counsel. Weatherly v. Cochran, 301 Neb. 426, 918 N.W.2d 868 (2018).
Pursuant to subsection (8) of this section, personal service is an element of the misdemeanor crime of violating a harassment protection order. State v. Graff, 282 Neb. 746, 810 N.W.2d 140 (2011).
A proper form under this section is not a prerequisite for subject matter jurisdiction, and this section does not change the rules of notice pleading generally applicable to civil actions. Mahmood v. Mahmud, 279 Neb. 390, 778 N.W.2d 426 (2010).
This section was amended operative January 1, 2020, and now provides that the petition and affidavit shall be deemed to have been offered into evidence at any show cause hearing, and the petition and affidavit shall be admitted into evidence unless specifically excluded by the court; this was a substantive amendment and therefore was not applicable to the pending case. Prentice v. Steede, 28 Neb. App. 423, 944 N.W.2d 323 (2020).
When a trial court determines an ex parte temporary harassment protection order is not warranted, an evidentiary hearing is not mandated under the harassment protection order statute as it is under the domestic abuse protection order statute. In harassment protection order proceedings, a trial court has the discretion to direct a respondent to show cause why an order should not be entered or, alternatively, the court can dismiss the petition if insufficient grounds have been stated in the petition and affidavit. Rosberg v. Rosberg, 25 Neb. App. 856, 916 N.W.2d 62 (2018).
The court erred in finding sufficient evidence to support issuance of harassment protection orders because the alleged harasser had not engaged in the type of stalking offense for which this section provides relief, where the incident between the alleged harasser and the alleged victims occurred within a span of 10 to 20 minutes on one particular day, and there was no evidence of harassment prior to or after the incident. Knopik v. Hahn, 25 Neb. App. 157, 902 N.W.2d 716 (2017).
The 5-day time requirement specified in this section for requesting a hearing is not essential to accomplishing the main objective of Nebraska's stalking and harassment statutes. Glantz v. Daniel, 21 Neb. App. 89, 837 N.W.2d 563 (2013).
The requirement in this section to request a hearing within 5 days of service of the ex parte order is directory rather than mandatory. Glantz v. Daniel, 21 Neb. App. 89, 837 N.W.2d 563 (2013).