Sunday, September 2, 2012

Filing a Protective Order in Utah

Called a "restraining order" in some other states, a protective order can be filed by someone who gives reasonable evidence of actual harm or threat of harm. What can this order do? It can forbid the respondent from harming the petitioner and anyone else who lives with the petitioner. It can also order the respondent from coming within a certain distance of the petitioner. In many cases, the petitioner is filing a protective order against a spouse, former spouse or former significant other.

No physical violence is actually necessary to petition for a restraining order, but there must at least have been threatened violence. There is also an importance of definitions at this point. "Harm" can mean any hitting, pushing, kicking or other types of physical attacks. Physical attacks can include deadly weapons as well. Harm can also take on a non-violent form such as stalking or threatening and harassing. Even outbursts such as throwing objects can constitute "harm."

The initial protective order will not be permanent, but only temporary. According to Utah State Courts, petitioners are to take the completed form to the district court in the county where both parties reside. For example, the 1st judicial district courts are located in Box Elder County, Cache County and Rich County. This protective order goes into full effect, but it is considered temporary until the respondent can actually respond and the case can be heard in court.

Unfortunately, this can leave the respondents with restrictions even though their case has not yet been heard by a judge. Protective orders can be contested, and they are contested at the hearing for the final protective order. Although the petition can be revoked at any time during the process with the judge's approval, this typically does not happen. A protective order can be both revoked and modified if this gets approved.

Protective order procedures will vary from state to state. For example, in Utah a respondent will have to wait 20 days after the request for a hearing is filed. Respondents should be careful to pay attention to any dates and times listed on the order, as this will indicate when they must show up in court. The case will be considered invalid if the respondent was not properly served their temporary order before the date of the actual hearing.

Again using Utah as an example, granting a temporary order also means that the respondent's information gets submitted to the statewide "Domestic Violence Network." This information is then evaluated by law enforcement officials. Again, even before a trial, information about the alleged violence or threatened violence is submitted to law enforcement. While many petitions for these orders are valid, others are based on false claims.

While it is not necessary to procure legal representation after receiving a protective order, it may be a good idea. An attorney can evaluate a case from all angles, procuring the necessary evidence to combat allegations. A finalized Utah protective order can forbid an individual from seeing or coming near loved ones, and a violation of this order can be legally enforced and even constitute an arrest. To learn more about obtaining defense, be sure to contact a criminal defense lawyer near you.

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