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Under Utah law a judge can issue a protective order at the request of an individual who claims to have been physically assaulted, threatened or harassed by another person. If the judge finds evidence to support the request, the judge can issue an order prohibiting the subject of the order from having contact of any kind with the applicant. Protective orders can also prohibit the subject from going near the applicant’s home, school or place of employment.
The process that a person goes through to get a protective order (aka a restraining order) is an application to a judge in civil court; however, if the protective order is violated, the charge of violation of the restraining order is a criminal charge with criminal penalties upon conviction. It can be relatively simple to obtain a protective order against someone—often the result of a domestic dispute of some sort—but the consequences of violating the protective order are swift and harsh.
Some of our clients get in trouble because they falsely believe that their ex-wife—or whoever has the protective order—can waive the order by inviting them over. A protective order cannot be waived or rescinded except by a judge. Accepting an invitation is not a defense to a criminal charge of violating a protective order.
Violation of a protective order is considered a crime of domestic violence, and carries all the penalties associated with any other crime of domestic violence. In addition, the conviction may carry a jail sentence, depending in part on whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony. The conviction will remain part of your criminal record. A conviction on a misdemeanor charge cannot be expunged for at least three years after the end of any probationary period. A conviction on a felony charge cannot be expunged for at least seven years after the end of probation.
At Schatz, Anderson & Associates, LLC, our practice focuses almost exclusively on criminal defense on behalf of clients throughout Utah, including in Salt Lake City, Vernal, Provo, and St. George. Our attorneys have successfully defended clients against thousands of misdemeanor and felony criminal charges—including charges for violation of a protective order. We have a fully staffed knowledgeable, experienced legal team ready to help you. Schedule your consultation today!