Restraining orders are imposed by courts to protect victims from the defendant. In many cases, the defendant allegedly abuses the victim while they lived together or were in a romantic relationship. In other cases, the victim and defendant may not even know each other, but the victim still feels threatened by the defendant or their friends. A restraining order keeps the defendant away from the alleged victim, or criminal penalties will be imposed. If you are a defendant bound by a restraining order, an attorney can help you lift the order if it becomes too burdensome.
When dealing with a restraining order, you should hire an attorney right away. Any criminal matter is incredibly serious and handling things on your own is a recipe for disaster. A restraining order could keep you away from the victim and their friends and family, including your own children if you share kids with the victim. A restraining order can also make visiting certain places if the alleged victim is likely to be there. Hiring an attorney sooner rather than later will give you a better shot at lifting a restraining order before you accidentally violate the order.
If you have been bound by a restraining order and are now prohibited from seeing your loved ones, contact our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys immediately. We can help you lift the order and get your life back. We can also help you handle any underlying criminal charges connected to the order. Call Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free, confidential legal consultation today.
When to Hire a Restraining Order Attorney in Utah
It is a good idea to hire an attorney as soon as you have been arrested. A lawyer is in the best position to defend you if they are made privy to your case from the very beginning. Hiring a lawyer later on after a few hearings means that lawyer will have to spend a fair amount of time playing catch-up. It is especially helpful to hire a lawyer right away when you face a restraining order because these orders are often imposed at the beginning of your proceedings.
In many cases, the court will impose a temporary restraining order (TRO) at the beginning of your case. A TRO has the same effect as a permanent restraining order because it keeps you away from the alleged victim and their family. However, a TRO will expire at the end of your trial. If you are found guilty of your criminal charges, a final restraining order may be imposed as part of your sentence. Such an order could be permanent or last indefinitely.
The sooner you hire a restraining order lawyer, the sooner they can get to work on lifting the order. Courts impose restraining orders because courts have a very great interest in protecting alleged victims from future harm. This often comes at a steep cost to the defendant. You could be deprived of your ability to see your friends or loved ones even though you have not been found guilty yet. If you hire a lawyer right away, they may even be able to fight restraining orders before they happen and prevent them from ever being put in place. Call our Utah restraining order attorneys for help with your case.
What Happens When You Violate a Protective or Restraining Order in Utah?
When you violate a restraining order, there are several possible outcomes. There will very likely be some sort of penalty assessed against you, but the nature of that penalty will depend on the nature of the violation.
A restraining order violation may be considered an act of contempt and you may be criminally charged. Under the Utah Criminal Code § 76-5-108, an act of contempt may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. However, those charged could be upgraded under specific provisions of the Cohabitant Abuse Procedures Act.
In addition to any charges for contempt, you may also be charged for any criminal offenses you committed while violating the restraining order. Visiting the victim may be prohibited under the order, but it is not itself a crime. However, if you punched or threatened the victim when you saw them, you could be charged with assault in addition to contempt.
If you have violated a restraining order and need help, call our Utah restraining order attorneys now.
How to Defend Yourself Against a Restraining Order in Utah
Restraining or protective orders can be difficult to challenge because they are designed to protect the victim from future harm. Judges are not very keen to strip victims of necessary protection, even if it comes at a great cost to the defendant. A lawyer will help you identify certain circumstances in which a restraining order could be lifted.
To lift a temporary or final restraining order, you must show the court that the order is unnecessary, overly burdensome, or against the public interest. Generally, to begin procedures for lifting an order, you must file a motion with the court and a hearing must be held.
Restraining orders are unnecessary when there is no risk of irreparable harm to the victim. For example, if a defendant can demonstrate that they do not pose a threat to the victim, a restraining order is not needed.
A restraining order could be deemed overly burdensome if the harm caused by the order outweighs the risk of irreparable harm. For example, if a restraining order requires a defendant to leave their home because they live with the victim and quit their job because they work with the victim, they are essentially homeless with no income. That defendant could argue the restraining order imposes too heavy a burden.
Similarly, forcing defendants into homelessness without even having a trial first could be construed as being against the public interest. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys can help you fight to lift the order against you.
Restraining Order Defense Lawyer in Utah
If you or someone close to you is facing a temporary or final restraining order, a skilled lawyer can provide assistance. Our Utah restraining order lawyers can help you fight the imposition of a restraining order or work to get one lifted. These orders provide a big hurdle for defendants who already have a lot to deal with. Call Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287 to set up a private legal consultation free of charge.