Protective orders are available in Utah to victims of domestic violence and those who are in immediate danger of being victims of domestic violence. “Domestic violence” is a term used to define a category of crimes committed by cohabitants against one another. Cohabitants include current and former spouses, relatives by blood or marriage, people who have born or unborn children in common, common-law spouses, and people who are living or have lived with each other in the same residence. Domestic violence offenses are any crime involving actual or threatened violence or physical harm and also include aggravated assault, assault, criminal homicide, harassment, electronic communication harassment, kidnapping, child kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, mayhem, sexual offenses, stalking, unlawful detention or unlawful detention of a minor, certain property crimes, possession of a deadly weapon with intent to assault, discharge of a firearm from a vehicle, near a highway, or in the direction of any person, building, or vehicle, and disorderly conduct if the conviction for disorderly conduct is pursuant to a plea agreement when the person convicted was originally charged with a different domestic violence offense.
Protective orders limit the rights of those who are subject to them. They can prohibit a person from going to another person’s home, school, place of work, and any other place where that person goes frequently. They also can prevent a person from contacting another person directly or indirectly. A person with a protective order against him or her also cannot possess firearms.
The violation of a protective order is punishable as either a Class A misdemeanor or a third-degree felony, depending on whether the offender has been convicted of a domestic violence offense within the last five years.
The Process Of Obtaining A Protective Order
There are two types of protective orders that a court can issue. The first is a criminal protective order. The second is a civil protective order.
To obtain a criminal protective order, there must be an open criminal case prosecuting a person for a domestic violence-related offense. A victim of domestic violence need only ask for the court to enter a protective order, and the court can enter a protective order while the case is pending and as a condition of probation after a conviction for domestic violence.
To obtain a civil protective order, a person who has been the victim of domestic violence, or who is in imminent danger of being a victim of domestic violence, files a petition for an ex parte protective order with a district court. The petition must outline the conduct of the person against whom the other person is seeking a protective order. If, accepting the allegations in the petition as true, the described conduct is sufficient, the district court judge will issue the ex parte protective order and set a hearing to determine whether the ex parte protective order should become a permanent protective order. The ex parte protective order must then be served formally on the accused.
The accuser and the person defending must appear at the protective order hearing. If the victim does not appear, the ex parte protective order will be dismissed. If the accused does not appear, the ex parte protective order will automatically become a permanent protective order. If both appear, the accuser must present evidence and bears the burden to prove that he or she is entitled to a protective order.
Protecting The Rights Of Those Facing The Imposition Of A Protective Order
Our attorneys understand the protective order process and know how to defend against the imposition of a protective order. They can help those accused of committing domestic violence offenses. If those accused are innocent, they can help ensure a protective order does not wrongfully issue against them.
If you are facing the imposition of a protective order against you or are the victim of domestic violence seeking a protective order against another, call us to schedule a free protective order consultation. Or, if you prefer, complete the online form.