Having a domestic violence protective order issued against you means that you are subject to certain restrictions. The order is granted in cases where a judge determines that an individual poses a threat to the safety of another because that individual has committed, threatened to commit, or will commit violence or abuse upon the other person.
Depending on your situation, the judge may issue a protective order even before having an opportunity to tell your story in court. This is called a temporary ex parte order, which lasts until the hearing for a final order. If the judge grants a final order, you must comply with the terms while it’s in effect. Otherwise, you could face criminal charges and penalties.
Persons Who Can Seek a Protective Order
Someone 16 years of age or older may petition for a protective order against you if your relationship with each other falls under Utah’s definition of cohabitants.
Under Utah Code § 78B-7-102, cohabitants include:
- Current or former spouses,
- Persons who currently or formerly lived together,
- Persons who currently or formerly had a consensual sexual relationship,
- Relatives by blood or marriage (e.g., parents, children, stepparents, stepchildren, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews)
Additionally, the person must allege that you have physically harmed them or threatened or attempted violence against them.
Violence or abuse includes, but is not limited to:
- Stalking, and
- Sexual assault.
The Functions of a Protective Order
A protective order serves to keep the petitioner (the person requesting it) safe from current or future violence. That means limiting interaction between the petitioner and the respondent (the person the order is being requested against).
If you are named in a protective order, you would be restricted on where you can go and who you can communicate with.
Examples of some of the terms of a protective order are as follows:
- Not harming any person named in the order;
- Not contacting protected persons in any way;
- Remaining a certain distance from the petitioner’s home, school, work, or place of worship, or any other location they frequently visit;
- Relinquishing or not purchasing firearms or other weapons; or
- Not injuring or taking control of the protected person’s pet.
When a Protective Order May Be Issued
The alleged victim of domestic violence or abuse may request to have a protective order issued by filing a petition with the court. A judge will review the request and determine whether the petitioner may be subject to additional harm if not protected.
If future violence is likely to occur, the judge may grant a temporary ex parte order. This order is issued before a hearing is held, meaning that you do not get a chance to make arguments against the request. The temporary order may be valid for up to 21 days (until the scheduled hearing for a final order).
At the hearing, you and the petitioner can present your cases regarding whether a protective order should be issued against you. It is important that you attend this hearing. If you don’t, the judge may grant the petitioner’s request without hearing your arguments.
The Consequences of Violating a Protective Order
A final protective lasts for up to 3 years. During the effective period, you must comply with all court-ordered conditions. Violating the terms can result in an arrest and criminal charge.
A first-time protective order violation is a class A misdemeanor, carrying up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine. Subsequent offenses are third-degree felonies, punishable by a maximum of 5 years of imprisonment.
Get Started on Your Defense
A domestic violence allegation alone can have substantial ramifications on your life. For help fighting your charge and to seek to avoid or minimize penalties or other sanctions, retain the services of a criminal defense attorney.
At Lokken & Putnam, P.C., we have experience handling these types of matters and are ready to stand up for you.
Schedule a consultation with a member of our Salt Lake City team by calling us at (801) 829-9783 or submitting an online contact form today.