An Order of Protection or “Restraining Order” as they are sometimes referred to, is a civil action issued by a judge or justice of the peace to prevent acts of domestic violence, harassment or assault. If a person feels a certain level of threat from someone else, and if they can convince a judge of the reality of this threat, an Order of Protection can be issued. In Arizona, there are various degrees of punishment for violating this order.
Typically, once the Order of Protection is served, it will stay active for 1 full year from the day of issuance. During that year, it is illegal for the defendant to contact the filing party directly or have others contact the filing party directly. There may also be restrictions regarding the distance from a person’s place of work, school or residence that the defendant can come within during that time. Different conditions can apply based on what the filing party is requesting and what the judge deems fair.
If the defendant violates an Order of Protection, they can be arrested immediately and held in custody until the judge determines when they should be released. If convicted of violation, the defendant can face up to 6 months in jail and $2500 in fines.
Unfortunately for the defendant, it can be become very simple to violate an Order of Protection without even trying. A common scenario involves the filing party and defendant deciding to work things out on their own. The filing party then decides to allow the defendant to return home or be in more regular contact. Even if the two parties involved decide they are ready to reconcile and put their differences behind them, the Order of Protection will still be in effect until the filing party seeks a withdrawal.
If during this period of time, the police are involved in any type of issue and run a report on the defendant finding that they have an Order of Protection issued against them, the defendant will be arrested immediately.
This is when it becomes imperative to involve an attorney to help you fight your case. Your attorney will first work to have the Order of Protection lifted, then work with prosecutors to explain the situation and have the charges dropped. Naegle & Crider Criminal Defense Attorneys highly recommends that you do not attempt this process on your own. Your attorney’s experience and good working relationship with the court and prosecutors can go a long way.
Additionally, when an Order of Protection is first issued, it can be challenged through a written hearing and is typically held within 10 days after it is requested if the defendant files the paperwork correctly. This can be shortened to 5 days if it prevents the defendant from returning home. Having an attorney in your corner to ensure the proper filing of this challenge can have a big effect on the outcome.
To learn more or to discuss your Order of Protection charges with Charlie Naegle, give us a call today. We’ll be happy to set up a free consultation.