Preparing for a Domestic Violence Hearing
Domestic Violence Protection Order hearings are generally held at 2:00 p.m. every Tuesday, in the Hillsborough Courthouse. A judge will consider Plaintiff's request and decide whether or not to sign it and put it into effect. Plaintiffs may find the following resources useful in presenting requests to the judge:

  1. POLICE REPORTS/ARREST RECORDS. Reports detailing incidents between Plaintiff and Defendant can be obtained from the police department that responded to the scene. The Police Department will only provide a cover sheet, however, which states that an incident took place. To receive a descriptive narrative Plaintiff should consult the Clerk of Court referencing subpoena of the record.
  2. MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION. Records of injuries, emergency room and medical treatment, and any pictures of injuries resulting from the violence can be obtained from the care provider(s). Examples of useful documentation may be billing statements and/or medical records by the attending physician. If police took pictures at the time of the assault, Plaintiff should arrange to get copies.
  3. WITNESSES. If others have witnessed violence by Defendant, or if they have heard Defendant make threats, they should be brought to the hearing.
  4. RECORDS/EVIDENCE. Any recordings of telephone calls Defendant has made or logs tracking calls or other incidents, and any equipment necessary for presentation with you should be brought to the hearing.
  5. AN ATTORNEY. An attorney is not required in order to obtain a Domestic Violence Protective Order. But, if Plaintiff believes Defendant will have an attorney present, or feels that legal assistance/representation would be beneficial, arrangements may be made to have an attorney present. If Plaintiff cannot afford an attorney, he/she may be able to obtain assistance from North State Legal Services. (1-800-672-5834).
Plaintiff's failure to be present at the hearing could result in the request for a Domestic Violence Protective Order being denied. If Plaintiff files a request for an DVPO and later decides that it is unwanted, he/she should still be present at the hearing to request that it be dropped.

If Defendant has not been served by the day of the hearing, or is not present at the first hearing date, the judge may decide to continue protection until another court date. This will require that Plaintiff come to court again.