Salt Lake City Violation of Protective Order Attorney
Violating a protective order is a Class A misdemeanor in Utah subject to fines of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail. However, the government must show that the violation was deliberate or intentional. With a skilled attorney at your side, you can defend your rights and establish that you didn’t intend to violate the protective order.
Overson Law PLLC is a full-service criminal defense practice dedicated to helping Salt Lake City residents. If you or someone you know was accused of violating a protective order in Salt Lake City, Utah, you need an attorney prepared to handle all repercussions proactively and effectively. Call Overson Law today at (801) 823-6678 to schedule a free and prompt consultation.
Types of Protective Orders in Utah
There are four types of protective orders in Utah:
- Cohabitant abuse order (Co-habitant Abuse Act)
- Child protective order
- Dating Violence Protection Act
- Civil stalking injunction (when there is no relationship between petitioners)
Someone who files a petition for a protective order must show concerns about a threat to their safety either due to harassment or actual threats. A request is filed with a petition, and a temporary protective order is granted until there is a hearing scheduled — usually within a few weeks.
At the hearing, the judge can upgrade the order to a final protective order that can be in force for years until dismissed by the court. Some orders can be dismissed after two years if the petitioner is no longer in fear or after a year if the petitioner violated the order and tried to get you to violate it as well.
Penalties for Violating a Protective Order in Salt Lake City
In addition to facing a charge for a Class A misdemeanor, there are many serious repercussions for violating a protective order. Repeated violations — within five years — are considered a third-degree felony, which can lead to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000. Each violation is considered a separate offense, which means you can face multiple charges for each accusation.
Moreover, if you are under probation or on parole, an accusation of violating a protective order can have devastating consequences. You can lose your freedom if a condition of your probation or parole is to avoid legal troubles. Also, if you’re facing a third-degree felony accusation due to violating a protective order and your potential jail sentence can exceed a year in jail, you can also face disqualification for certain jobs and be prohibited from carrying a gun.
If you are facing an accusation of violating a protective order, you can face an immediate arrest, and no warrant is necessary as provided under Utah Code Section 77-36-24 if there is probable cause to believe the protective order was violated.
Challenging the Terms of a Protective Order in Utah
The terms of a protective order can be extremely harsh, especially in the cases of people who live together. Regardless of the conditions, don’t ignore the order and violate it. An attorney can file a court motion asking for a modification or to dismiss the protective order. Utah courts have broad discretion in the event of allegations that a protective order was violated. The following factors must be taken into consideration:
- If you complied with treatment recommendations included with the protective order
- If the order was in force at the time it was violated
- If there were other claims of abuse, harassment, or violence by either party when the order was in force
- If either party sought counseling
- If there are minors involved and what the impact on them may be
- The severity of past abuse
The factors above are intended to assist the judge in determining whether there is a reasonable fear of harm. Your attorney can provide a more thorough explanation of how these factors can impact your case.
Call Our Salt Lake City Lawyers for Violation of a Protective Order
In an evidentiary hearing, the parties have to present testimony and evidence about the reasons the petitioner alleges fear. You need an attorney who is prepared to share your side of the story effectively. What is most important is that the fear must be “reasonable.” If you don’t ask for a hearing, the court is required to accept as “true” the information provided by the other side. Unless the order is modified or dismissed, you cannot contact the recipient of the order.
Sometimes you can get a modified protective order that allows limited communications. However, the communications cannot stretch beyond a given subject, such as your children or separation agreement. If you send an e-mail or text asking that he or she “drops” the protective order, you can face charges for violating the order.
If you were accused of violating a protective order or you are concerned a protective order is making it impossible for you to return to your home or work, you should talk to an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney with the skills and experience to defend you. To learn more about how we can help you, contact Overson Law, PLLC, at (801) 823-6678 today.