What is an Order of Protection in Arizona?

order of protectionYou’ve just found out that a protective order (restraining order) has been filed against you in Arizona. What are the implications? How will the restraining offer affect your everyday life and is there any way to contest the legal decision if you disagree with it?

When Can an Order of Protection Be Filed Against You?

Commonly called a restraining order, the order of protection is described in full detail in A.R.S. 13-3602.

A person has the right to file a petition for an order of protection in order to prevent an act of domestic violence.

There are strict conditions for the court to grant a restraining order. The requirements that have to be met include the following:

  • Submitting a written and verified petition for an order of protection
  • The petition should focus on just one person
  • The provision of evidence of domestic violence (including dates and where the alleged violence occurred)
  • Establishing reasonable cause to believe that the defendant may commit an act of domestic violence
  • Provision of an overview of what the desired relief is

Evidence can be provided in many formats, including digital evidence like texts, emails or threatening videos.

Each order of protection will envision specific relief measures. The most common one is avoiding contact with the plaintiff. An order of protection could also affect parental rights and visitation arrangements if there’s enough evidence of domestic violence in the past or if it could be established that kids may be at a risk of experiencing domestic violence in the future.

Violating an Order of Protection

Often, people who don’t agree with the order of protection will violate its terms instead of contacting a family law attorney in Arizona to discuss potential counter-measures.

Violating the terms of the restraining order is a really bad idea, even if you think these measures are unjust.

You may be charged with violating the order of protection and in Arizona, this is a Class 1 misdemeanor.  In the event of a violation, you will be arrested and you’ll remain in custody until an Arizona judge determines the release conditions. A Class 1 misdemeanor also carries a sentence of up to six months in prison and a financial fine.

Click here for an article on what are protective orders in Arizona.

Fighting a Restraining Order

Before demonstrating disobedience, you should consider legally fighting an order of protection that has been filed against you.

The legal process in Arizona is just and you have the right to defend yourself. For the purpose, seek assistance from an experienced family lawyer (especially if allegations of serious domestic violence acts have been filed against you).

There are two possibilities you can pursue – getting the restraining order modified or dismissed altogether.

To start the procedure, you need to file a written request for a hearing with the court that issued the order of protection against you.

During this period, you cannot talk to the person that filed the petition against you. Rather, let your attorney handle the communication. All text messages, phone calls and other communication attempts could be used against you during the hearing.

While you are waiting, you should start collecting evidence to prove that the domestic violence allegations are false. If you are already accused of something, you’ll need to show clearly that it didn’t occur. In the absence of concrete evidence, you’ll find it difficult to get the restraining order modified or dismissed altogether.

Once issued, an order of protection will remain valid for a period of one year. It will also show up on your criminal record. Thus, it’s in your best interest to contest the order in court, especially if you believe that someone has petitioned the court maliciously and in the absence of concrete evidence.

Find out about married never consummated and divorce and annulment in Arizona.