At What Point Do I Need a Lawyer for a Restraining Order Hearing in Utah?
Facing a restraining order in Utah is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. The courts generally issue this type of order in cases of domestic abuse, violence, and sexual violence – among other issues. If you or a loved one received a restraining order from their spouse, domestic partner, or another cohabitant in Utah, you need to act quickly. You may wonder at what point you need a lawyer if there is a restraining order against you. Our Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson explains.
When Should I Hire an Attorney for a Restraining Order in Utah?
A restraining order is an action brought by a person claiming they have been the victim of domestic violence or abuse. Typically, there are four different types of restraining orders: cohabitant, dating violence, sexual violence, and civil stalking injunction restraining orders. If you or someone you know is facing a restraining order in Utah, you need immediate assistance from an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney.
Under Utah Code § 78B-7-102(1), protective or restraining orders are granted by the court in abuse or violence situations. Generally, the court will grant a protective order when a person purposely causes harm, try to cause harm, or causes fear of violence upon another. This court-ordered protection can be given regardless of your marital status and whether the alleged abuser lives with the alleged victim or not.
The fact there may be a protective order against you doesn’t mean you will be automatically convicted of anything. Under the U.S. Constitution, you are innocent until proven guilty. This means the prosecution must prove the elements of your alleged offense to convict you.
There is no denying that domestic abuse and violence exists, and it is a real issue in our society. However, there have been many cases where estranged, jealous, or toxic spouses or domestic partners have filed restraining order petitions to cause harm to their ex’s reputation. It is always in your best interest to hire an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney to uphold your rights as a defendant as soon as you get involved in a case.
What Happens if You Violate a Restraining or Protective Order in Utah?
You should always make sure to follow any orders from the court, regardless of your situation. Violating a restraining or protective order in Utah can carry severe criminal consequences. Utah divides crimes into misdemeanors and felonies. Each type of criminal offense is subdivided, along with the criminal penalties associated with them. For instance, misdemeanors are subdivided into classes A, B, and C. Felonies – the most severe type of criminal offense – are divided into first, second, and third-degree felonies.
Violating a protective order in Utah is a Class A misdemeanor. This means you can face up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in criminal fines. However, your charges and potential penalties can increase depending on your specific situation.
If you have repeatedly violated a restraining order within five years in Utah, your charges can be elevated to a third-degree felony. If you are convicted of a third-degree felony, you can face up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. Moreover, a criminal conviction for violating a restraining order – or any other criminal offense – can have devastating consequences.
For example, your criminal conviction can make it nearly impossible to find a new job, apply for a loan, or get an apartment. If you are a young offender and are considering going to college, a criminal conviction may prevent you from getting in. It is essential to have a Salt Lake City protective order violation attorney by your side throughout the process so you can understand what to expect from your case moving forward.
Defending Yourself Against a Restraining Order in Utah
It is critical to take a proactive approach when it comes to a restraining order. It would be best to meet all requirements requested in your protective order and refraining from engaging in conduct that may be seen as a breach of the court’s orders. It is important to understand that everything you do after a restraining order can have a significant impact in your case.
After getting a restraining order, the first thing you should do is avoid any type of contact with the petitioner – the person filing the protective order. Even if you have a justifiable defense against their allegations, it is absolutely imperative to stay away and follow all your protective order instructions.
Contacting a skilled Utah criminal defense lawyer is of the utmost importance when dealing with a restraining order. With your lawyer’s assistance, you should be able to gather any physical evidence related to your alleged offense. Additionally, they can help you collect relevant data that can help establish a robust defense such as text messages, e-mails, letters, and other critical information. Moreover, your attorney can help you get testimony from witnesses that may have seen or heard something and have first-hand knowledge of your situation.
You may wonder why following all of these steps is important and how it will help your situation. As we mentioned, there are thousands of cases where a petitioner makes a frivolous accusation against their ex-partner or spouse to get back at them. Additionally, there may have been false accusations or a misunderstanding regarding an alleged violation of a restraining order. With your attorney’s assistance, you should be able to provide the court with critical evidence that may significantly impact your case’s outcome.
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney Handling Restraining Order Cases
If you or a loved one faces a restraining order or are charged with violating a protective order in Utah, we can help. For years our Salt Lake City, UT criminal defense attorneys from Overson Law PLLC, has handled thousands of criminal cases and have fought tirelessly to defend their clients’ rights. We know how challenging and frustrating dealing with a protective order can be. For this reason, it is essential to act quickly and retain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Utah. Schedule your free, confidential consultation today by calling (801) 758-2287.