Utah Criminal Code 76-5-108: Protective Orders Restraining Abuse Of Another–Violation
1. Any person who is the respondent or defendant subject to a protective order, child protective order, ex parte protective order, or ex parte child protective order issued under Title 78B, Chapter 7, Part 1, Cohabitant Abuse Act; Title 78A, Chapter 6, Juvenile Court Act; Title 77, Chapter 36, Cohabitant Abuse Procedures Act; or a foreign protection order enforceable under Title 78B, Chapter 7, Part 3, Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act, who intentionally or knowingly violates that order after having been properly served, is guilty of a class A misdemeanor, except as a greater penalty may be provided in Title 77, Chapter 36, Cohabitant Abuse Procedures Act.
2. Violation of an order as described in Subsection (1) is a domestic violence offense under Section 77-36-1 and subject to increased penalties in accordance with Section 77-36-1.1 .
Terms Used In Utah Code 76-5-108
• Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
• Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
• Offense: means a violation of any penal statute of this state. See Utah Code 76-1-601
• Person: means an individual, public or private corporation, government, partnership, or unincorporated association
A protection order can have a dramatic impact on every aspect of your life, limiting who you can speak to, the places you can go, and the things you can do. In some cases, a protection order sometimes referred to as a “restraining order” can keep you from entering your own home or speaking with your children. But while the terms of your restraining order may seem harsh or unfair, it is critical that you comply with them strictly. Failure to comply with the rules of your protection order can lead to further criminal charges and penalties that are even tougher and more restrictive. If you have been served with a protection order in Utah, be sure to examine the order closely and familiarize yourself with its terms. There are many different ways to violate a protection order, and you must follow your terms closely if you want to avoid being arrested and charged with this type of crime.
Every order is unique, but we’ve listed some of the most common ways you can violate a protection order below.
1. Coming too close to the alleged victim. Most restraining orders will require you to keep a certain amount of distance between you and the protected person at all times.
2. Contacting the alleged victim. Typically, a protection order will bar you from contacting the person who took out the order against you in any way. This includes calling, texting, emailing, or using a social network to contact the alleged victim. Even sending a birthday or Mother’s Day card to a protected person may qualify as a violation of your protection order.
3. Failing to move out of your home. A domestic violence-related protection order may order you to move out of the home that you share with the protected person immediately. A police officer will accompany you to your residence to collect your belongings and clothes. Under the terms of your protection order, you could face serious legal trouble for visiting your former residence.
4. Visiting your shared workplace or school. Restraining orders can be especially tricky if you and the alleged victim have to work in the same location or attend the same school. A restraining order may order you not to interfere with the alleged victim’s career or education in anyway, thus barring you from entering your own workplace or school if you share them with the victim.
5. Failing to pay bills. Even though you may be forced to move out of your home, your protection order could order you to continue to pay mortgage, rent, insurance, or utilities for your former home. You may also be ordered to pay for household services, transportation, medical care, and childcare expenses.
6. Failing to comply with child visitation rules. Depending on the provisions of your order, you could be restricted in the amount of time you can spend with your children or barred from making important decisions about their life. Your protection order can give the alleged victim temporary care, control, and decision-making capabilities for your child if the judge believes this will keep the child out of an abusive or unhealthy environment.
7. Purchasing or possessing a gun. Oftentimes, protection orders will require that you forfeit any firearm or ammunition for the duration of the order, and prohibit you from purchasing or using any kind of weapon while the order is in effect. If you are in a line of work that requires you to use a firearm, such as the military or police force you may be required to leave your job.
8. Responding to contact attempts of the alleged victim. This is an especially important one to keep in mind. Under the terms of a restraining order, you are barred from all contact with the protected person even if he or she attempts to contact you first. That means that you can be charged with a protection order violation simply by responding to a text message from a victim or even picking up the phone if he or she calls.
While the terms of a restraining order can be incredibly complicated, restrictive, and life-altering, it is imperative you follow them closely. Violating the terms of a protective order even an unfair one constitutes a serious criminal offense. If you believe you have been served an unjust or unlawful protection order, the only way to reverse it is by contesting the order in court with the help of an attorney. Survivors of domestic violence have several civil and criminal protection or restraining order options to protect themselves from further abuse. Although these orders won’t necessarily stop an abuser from stalking or hurting a victim, they permit the victim to call the police and have the abuser arrested if the order is violated. This article explains the various types of protection available to a victim of domestic violence.
Emergency Protection Orders
In many states, when the police encounter a domestic violence situation, one of the two parties involved in the dispute is required (or requested) to leave the home. Often, this person is the abuser, although the police can be mistaken about who the aggressor is. In about one-third of states, police officers are also authorized or required to remove guns when they arrive at the scene of a domestic violence incident. In some states, the police can give the victim an Emergency Protection Order (EPO), which is a short-term protection order typically given to a victim by the police or magistrate when his or her abuser is arrested for domestic violence. An EPO is generally for limited period, such as three or seven days, which allows the victim time to request a longer-term protection order.
What Is A Protective Order?
A protective order is different from an EPO because it’s longer term, typically for one to five years, and in extreme circumstances, for up to a lifetime. A victim can renew the protection order if the victim still feels threatened by his or her abuser. A protection order may include many different provisions, including:
• No Contact Provision: Prohibiting the abuser from calling, texting, emailing, stalking, attacking, hitting, or disturbing the victim.
• Peaceful Contact Provision: Permitting the abuser to peacefully communicate with the victim for limited reasons, including care and transfer for visitation of their child.
• Stay Away Provision: Ordering the abuser to stay at least a certain number of yards or feet away from the victim, his or her home, job, school, and car. The stay-away distance can vary by state, judge or the lethality of the situation, but is often at least 100 yards or 300 feet.
• Move Out Provision: Requiring the abuser to move out of a home shared with the victim.
• Firearms Provision: Requiring the abuser to surrender any guns he or she possesses (about 2/3rds of states) and/or prohibiting the abuser from purchasing a firearm.
• Counseling Provision: Ordering the abuser to attend counseling, such as batterer’s intervention or anger management.
Protection orders may include children, other family members, roommates, or current romantic partners of the victim. This means the same no contact and stay away rules apply to the other listed individuals, even if the direct harm was to the victim. Some states even allow pets to be protected by the same order, as abusers may harm pets to torment their victims. Some states include as part of the protection order visitation and custody for children of the victim and abuser. These are generally temporary and can be modified by divorce or other future family court orders. In order to obtain a protection order, you need to file the required legal papers with your local court, and follow your state law to present evidence at your hearing and to serve your abuser. The police can sometimes serve the papers for you.
A restraining order is an order requiring parties to a lawsuit to do or not do certain things. It may be part of a family law case, such as a divorce, or other civil case. Although this isn’t the same as a “domestic violence restraining order,” which is summarized above, domestic violence can be a factor in the underlying family law case. Restraining orders may be requested “ex parte” meaning that one party asks the court to do something without telling the other party. If the restraining order is granted ex parte, then the other party is later permitted a hearing to present his or her side of the story. This is often the process for protection orders as well. Since restraining orders also vary by state, it’s important to consult with an attorney familiar with the law where you live. If a criminal case is pending, the district attorney may request or the judge may order a protection order for the victim of the crime.
Violation of Protection Orders
Violation of a protection order can be treated in one of three ways: as a felony, misdemeanor, or contempt of court. Felony charges are typically reserved for either repeat or serious violations. Sometimes violations are considered both contempt of court and a new domestic violence charge, although California found that this subjects the defendant to double jeopardy. In many states, police policy is to arrest violators of these orders automatically.
When Protection Orders Are Misused
Victims of domestic violence can secure a protection order so that the alleged abuser cannot be around them. This is a court order that instructs the defendant not to have contact with the victim and to cease any abusive behavior toward the victim. However, some victims use these orders of protection to manipulate the system. The defendant may have to face false allegations and the ramifications that come along with them.
Types of Protection Orders
Protection orders may be temporary in nature or permanent. A temporary order may only remain in effect for a limited amount of time such as up to the timing of a court hearing. A permanent protection order may last for a year or more.
Other Effects of a Protection Order
In addition to prohibiting abuse, protection orders may make a number of other restrictions. If the abuser and victim live in the same house, the protection order can order the alleged abuser to move out of the home. If the court feels that the children are in danger, the alleged abuser can be forced not to see his or her children until the protection order expires.
In some situations, domestic violence has not actually occurred but the alleged victim may try to use a protection order in a manipulative manner. Some individuals use this tool to get what they want from the court system and play off the sympathy that the courts have for victims of domestic violence.
Reasons for False Accusations
Although the vast majority of protection orders are requested for good cause, some are taken out for dishonest reasons. Sometimes a couple will get into an argument. The alleged victim may feel mistreated due to infidelity, a breakup or conduct that falls well below the level of domestic violence. In other situations, a person may want a roommate to get kicked out without having to go through lengthy eviction procedures or without worry about breaking the lease. A spouse may make false allegations regarding domestic violence to get an advantage in a family law case. Because protection orders can order such things as spousal support, child support, child custody or visitation, alleged victims may use protection orders as a shortcut around family law matters.
Effect of False Accusations
When someone secures a protection order due to false accusations, there are often serious consequences. An innocent person can wind up with significant effects on his or her life, including relocating, having to change his or her daily activities to avoid the victim and losing time with his or her children. Having this restraining order on file can affect an innocent person’s reputation and may implicate him or her in future crimes simply because this perceived violent tendency.
If a person is being falsely accused of domestic violence and may be the respondent in a protection order case, he or she may wish to seek immediate legal representation. A protection order has the potential to impact many aspects of the respondent’s life. A criminal defense attorney can help protect the respondent’s rights and present a defense against the allegations. He or she can prepare the respondent for the hearing in order to have the highest change of a positive outcome in the case.
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