If you’ve had an order of protection filed against you, you may have violated the no-contact order unknowingly and still get punished for it. In these situations, you must understand it’s vital that you understand what protection orders prohibit you from doing.
What is a protection order?
A protective order protects the petitioner by prohibiting the defendant from contacting, and in some cases even approaching the home, school, and workplace, of the petitioner. This injunction serves as a legal restraint to prevent acts of domestic violence or harassment through the issuance of restraining orders against you. In Arizona, a person can be accused of domestic violence if they have:
- Endangered, intimidated, threatened, or harassed the petitioner;
- Interfered with child-custody;
- Trespassed or damaged the petitioner’s property;
- Kidnapped or held the abused prisoner;
- Assaulted or threatened the petitioner with a deadly weapon; and
- Taken photos or videos of the petitioner without their knowledge.
If you get a restraining order filed against you, speak with a domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible to discuss how you can fight the order, and seek legal aid.
What are the types of protection orders?
In Arizona domestic law, there are four forms of protection against a suspected abuser.
1. Emergency Order of Protection
In domestic violence cases, enforcement officers are authorized to issue an emergency order to protect victims of domestic abuse from the imminent danger of domestic violence. This provides temporary protection for petitioners by taking a firearm from the abuser or granting the petitioner exclusive use of the home. However, the emergency injunction only lasts for a short time, typically lasting for three days to a week after the order is issued.
2. Order of Protection
Unlike emergency orders, an order for protection is long-term, typically lasting a year, or up to five years in some cases. The injunction order for a domestic dispute can have the defendant restrained using no contact, peaceful contact, stay away, move out, firearms, and counseling provisions.
3. Release Orders
In Arizona, once a person arrested for domestic violence is released from custody, their release order typically has conditions in place to protect the victim and their child or family member. The registered release order should be sent to the county sheriff, and law enforcement officers are required to provide information to victims of domestic violence.
4. Injunctions Against Harassment
Injunctions against harassment can either be personal or workplace-related. For the former, the petitioner can file a petition to court against individuals who harass them, depending on whether they have a dating relationship or not. Unlike protection orders, however, this injunction doesn’t have a move out provision.
For workplace violence and harassment, the petitioner’s employer can file the paperwork to request an injunction for anyone entering the property or performing official work duties.
What counts as violations?
- If the court issued an order of injunction against you, you won’t know about it until a process-server has served you with the papers. In this case, you have not legally violated the order. However, the petitioner can call the police and have them serve you if they have a copy of the petition and court orders.
- If you’ve been ordered to move out but continue to stay, you’re in violation of the order.
- If the requesting party contacted you and you respond, you’re in violation even if you didn’t initiate communication.
- If you’ve been ordered to move out, but return to your house to collect your belongings, you may have violated the order of the court. You’re only allowed to go back and get personal items and clothing once, and it should be in the company of a law enforcement officer. Going back without an officer accompanying you, or returning multiple times is considered a violation of the order of protection.
- If you have a child, and the petitioner was contacted to schedule visitation, you violate contact orders issued against you if the children are included in the domestic violence order. If not, parenting time can be scheduled through a neutral party (such as someone who isn’t a household member), have the family court modify the order to obtain or exercise your custody rights according to family law.
- If you’ve moved back in or established contact after settling issues with the petitioner, you’re still violating the restraining order against you if it hasn’t been withdrawn or dismissed.
What to do if a protective order is violated?
If you’ve committed any of the violations described above, get in touch with a local domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. Getting charged with violating a domestic violence restraining order is a class 1 misdemeanor that can land you in jail.
Call The Law Office of Howard A. Snader, LLC today for legal help with your criminal case and schedule a free strategy session with our experienced criminal defense attorneys.