What Is An Order Of Protection?
An order of protection is a completely separate proceeding from the domestic violence criminal case itself. Anyone can seek an order of protection or an injunction against harassmentin Arizona as long as they go to one of the courts, fill out the forms explaining who they are seeking protection from and what exactly the order would be necessary to protect them against.A judge then determines almost immediately if that order on its face presents enough information for an order to be put in place. Once an order is in place, it is in effect for a year, and the person that the order has been served upon has one chance within that year to challenge the order in a hearing and see if they can get it lifted.
In domestic violence cases, a lot of the times, we see even with the criminal case where there is an order of no contact, victims will also seek an order of protection so that it extends beyond the time of the criminal case. If, in fact, the criminal case gets dismissed or resolved in a way that shortens the time period for less than a year, then that gives victims another opportunity to have court-ordered no contact on the record as well.
Is The Order Of Protection Automatically Issued Against Someone Charged With Domestic Violence?
No, an order of protection is not automatically placed when someone is charged with domestic violence, but obviously a criminal case against an individual that alleges any physical violence, threats, intimidation or harassment will likely impose an order of protection. Sometimes the domestic violence that has been alleged is not a hands-on offense; it is more of a technical violation, and a judge may say, “I am not going to impose this order of protection at this time. I am not hearing anything that makes me feel that the party is in immediate danger or there is immediate cause for alarm.” The standard is,“Does this person pose a threat? Is there unwanted contact?”If the judge believes they are going to continue to have the unwanted contact, the order is implemented.
What Are Some Things That People Should Either Do Or Avoid When They Have An Order Of Protection Against Them?
People like to be tricky sometimes and say, “I know there is a no-contact order, but we really have to get this from the house or need to drop off the kids or exchange paperwork.” However, any of that contact, even if it’s ostensibly friendly or okay, can manipulate the outcome later if the victim tells the prosecutor, “He is calling me, he is texting me, he stopped by the other day.” It then becomes your word against the victim’s word; and if you have already been charged with an offense, you are certainly not getting the benefit of the doubt.
A violation of a court order in a criminal case could result in the violator being taken into custody or their release conditions revoked. With regard to an order of protection, if this is violated as well, it is actually a misdemeanor offense in Arizona, and the violator could wind up with another criminal case on top of the outstanding one, and certainly that does not help the negotiating power or the possibility of a good resolution in a domestic violence case.
How Long Are These Orders Of Protection Generally Applicable For?
A standard order of protection is valid for 12 months, and then the party that sought it in the beginning would have to renew it for another 12 months by essentially re-filling out the application and laying appropriate grounds for the judge to continue the order of protection. It is not continuedautomatically, and it is not continued just because there was one before. The order needs to indicate a continuing, clear and present danger to the party seeking its renewal.
How Can A Felony Domestic Violence Conviction Impact Someone’s Civil Rights?
Actually, all domestic violence convictions can affect the offender’s right to carry a firearm or possess a firearm in Arizona. Felony domestic violence has the added restriction of the temporary loss of civil rights for voting; however, that right can be restored after completing probation or incarceration, whatever the terms of the punishment may be. But the restoration of gun rights is always going to be tougher as we are seeing now more than ever.
The Supreme Court just moved strongly in favor of laws that say domestic violence offenders are never going to get their gun rights back. This is obviously very dependent on local legislation, but there are always going to be those restrictions, whether they are misdemeanor or felony domestic violence offenses, but obviously felony cases have much stricter punishments available, and it is going to be much more difficult to restore those rights in the future.
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