At What Point Do I Need a Lawyer for a Restraining Order Hearing in Utah?

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

In Utah, there are two types of orders that can be obtained from the court to prevent another person from having future contact with you. The first, which is an entirely civil order, is called a restraining order. The second order, which is also sometimes referred to as a restraining order, is technically called a protective order, and has civil as well as criminal components. If you learn that a temporary restraining or protective order has been issued, or that an application for such an order against you has been filed, you should contact an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC as soon as possible. The quicker we can get to work on your case, the better chance we have of reaching a successful resolution at the hearing.  Below, our attorneys explain the difference between restraining orders and protective orders and how we can help you fight back against each type.

What is the Difference Between a Restraining Order and a Protective Order in Utah?

A protective order, sometimes casually referred to as a restraining order, is an independent action brought by someone who claims to be the victim of domestic violence, as defined under Utah law, to keep that person from harming them in the future. They can also be filed by parents on behalf of minor children. Sometimes, protective orders are issued as part of a criminal cases involving domestic abuse, either pre-trial or as a condition of a conviction or guilty plea. Other times, an individual can make an application for a protective order based on past instances of violence or abuse at the hands of the individual against whom the order is sought, as well as a present fear of imminent abuse from that same individual. The past instance does not need to have been reported to the authorities previously.

There are three types of protective orders: a cohabitant protective order, which can be issued when someone defined as a cohabitant commits an act of domestic violence against you, a dating violence protective order, which can be issued when someone you are in a “dating relationship” commits violence against you, and a sexual violence protective order, regarding such situations as sexual assault or rape by a stranger. There is also a civil stalking protective order, which can be issued when an individual’s activity meets the state’s definition of stalking. Violators of these orders can be charged criminally with violation of a protective order as well as civilly in some cases.

On the other hand, what is actually called a restraining order under the law can only be issued during an existing civil proceeding, like a divorce or child custody case. You cannot file for a restraining order independent of a civil case like you can with a protective order. Unlike with a protective order, however, you can file a restraining order regarding actions whether or not they meet the state’s definition of domestic violence. The order can be to restrain an individual involved in the dispute from all contact with you, or it can be to restrain them from some sort of specific activity such as taking drugs or alcohol in front of a minor child. Violations of restraining orders are dealt with through the civil court system, usually by holding violators in contempt of court.

When Do I Need a Lawyer for My Utah Restraining or Protective Order Hearing?

The answer to this question is always as soon as possible after you learn that an order has been or is to be issued. In the case of a protective order, the matter may be preceded by your arrest for some sort of domestic violence crime like assaulting a cohabitant or former cohabitant. If this is the case, you will need a skilled Utah bail hearing attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC right away to get you released from jail on little to no bail. Then, we can turn to dealing with the underlying charge. Until the underlying case is resolved, there is likely to be a protective order in place even if we contest it, so long as the complainant requests one. However, we can work to make a deal with the prosecutor that does not include the temporary protective order being converted into a final protective order.

If the protective order is being sought independent of a criminal case, the complainant will make an initial application to the judge for an order. If the judge grants this request, an ex parte, or temporary, protective order will be issued against you and a hearing will be scheduled for within 20 days of the order being issued. At this hearing, a skilled protective order defense attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC can argue that a final protective order is not merited based on the circumstances. We will have a change to introduce evidence and witnesses in your favor, as well as to rebut any evidence introduced by the prosecution and cross-examine their witnesses.

For a restraining order, how a lawyer can help you will depend on how early in the process you retain us. If you retain us before a temporary restraining order (TRO) has been issued, we can file a Memorandum Opposing Motion to try to block the judge from granting the application. If it has already been issued, a hearing will be scheduled within 14 days of its issuance. As with a protective order hearing, our skilled defense attorneys will have a chance to introduce evidence and witnesses and argue that a permanent restraining order should not be issued.

Call Our Skilled Utah Attorneys for Protective and Restraining Order Hearings Today

Whether you are dealing with a restraining order or a protective order, the consequences of a final or permanent order can be devastating, including forcing you to move out of a shared home or cease contact with a beloved child. At Overson Law, PLLC, our skilled criminal defense attorneys have years of experience successfully defending our clients at restraining order and protective order hearings throughout the state. The sooner we can get started on your case, the better chance we have of bringing it to a successful end. Call us today at (801) 758-2287 for a free, confidential consultation.


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