If you are the victim of threatened, attempted, or actual violence, you may qualify for a civil protective order from the court. Commonly referred to as a “restraining order,” a protective order can require an individual to not commit violence against anyone listed on the order, not contact or communicate in any way with those people, stay away from your home, work, school, or place of worship, and even to not be in possession of or buy a weapon. The person requesting a protective order is called the petitioner. The person against whom the order would be issued is called the respondent. If the court grants your protective order and a respondent violates it, they can be arrested and charged with a crime.
Protection orders have two parts: criminal and civil consequences. The criminal part includes any personal conduct, no contact, or stay away orders and weapons restrictions. The civil part can include any order about child custody, use of phones and utilities, or even financial support. After being issued, the civil part of the protective order generally lasts 150 days, although the court can extend the expiration date in certain circumstances. The criminal portions of the protective order typically last three years.
Types of Protective Orders
In order to request a protective order, you must first know which type of protective order you qualify for. There are five main types of protective orders and they differ depending on the relationship between the petitioner and the respondent.
Cohabitant Abuse Protective Order
The first type of protective order we will cover is called a cohabitant protective order (or just protective order). To qualify for this protective order, you must be 16 or older, a cohabitant with the respondent, and a victim of abuse by the respondent (including physical harm, threats of violence or physical harm, or domestic violence). Being a cohabitant means that you are or were married to the respondent, live or used to live together, are or were in a consensual sexual relationship, and have or had children together (or are expecting a child). You could also be related to the respondent as a parent, step-parent, child, step-child, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew to qualify as cohabitants. However, 16- or 17-year old cannot ask for a protective order against their parents.
Dating Violence Protective Order
A second type of protective order is a dating violence protective order. To qualify, you must be 18 or older and a victim of dating violence or abuse. You must also currently be, or have been in the past, dating or in a dating relationship with the respondent. The court defines a dating relationship as a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature, or a relationship which has romance or intimacy as a goal, regardless of whether the relationship involves sexual intimacy.
Sexual Violence Protective Order
A third protective order is a sexual violence protective order. You can request this type of protective order if you have no relationship with the petitioner but were sexually assaulted by them. Sexual violence includes rape, indecent liberties, sexual exploitation, distribution of an intimate image, human trafficking, and other sexual offenses.
Child Protective Order
A fourth protective order is used when a child (someone under 18 years old) is in danger of physical or sexual abuse. This child protective order can be requested by an adult for any child who is being abused, or is in imminent danger of being abused, or has been abused by someone. Abuse is defined as physical abuse, sexual abuse, a sexual offense, or human trafficking of the child.
Civil Stalking Injunction
The final type of protective order is a civil stalking injunction. This can be requested if your relationship with the petitioner does not fit the criteria for any of the other four orders and you are a victim of stalking. Stalking behavior is widely defined and includes times when the respondent directly, indirectly, or through someone else followed, monitored, observed, photographed, or communicated to or about the petitioner using any action, method, device; it also includes if the respondent engaged in or caused someone else to engage in the acts of approaching or confronting the petitioner, appearing at the petitioner’s workplace or home, and placing an object on property owned or occupied by the petitioner. If the respondent has done this type of behavior two or more times and in a way that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress or to be afraid for their own safety and/or the safety of someone else, a stalking injunction can be filed.
The forms necessary to file for a protective order and more information about each protective order can be found online on the Utah Courts website. Additionally, if you need help filing a protective order we can be reached at 801-746-1204.