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Criminal Law Blog

Types of Protective Orders in Arizona

March 20, 2020

Protective orders are legally enforceable documents that are intended to protect a victim from an abuser or harasser. Most often, they are used in domestic violence cases. However, it should be noted that no physical conflict needs to have taken place in order for the police to make a domestic violence arrest. A mere verbal argument is enough to land people behind bars. Upon release, it’s quite likely that they will have to abide by the conditions established in an order of protection. It’s imperative to speak with a criminal defense attorney if you’ve been arrested, charged with a crime, or served with an order of protection. Failing to strictly abide by the terms of the order can lead to additional criminal charges.

Order of Protection

The standard order of protection and the injunction against harassment (below) are two very similar documents. The main difference lies in the relationship between the alleged victim and the alleged abuser. If you’ve been served with an order of protection, it means that you have been accused of endangering the safety of a family member or household member. To determine whether an order of protection or an injunction against harassment is appropriate for any given situation, the court will use the relationship test. It considers whether the alleged victim is any of the following in relations to the alleged abuser:

 A spouse or former spouse
 A parent of the alleged abuser’s child or fetus
 Related by marriage as any type of in-law
 Related by blood or court order (including parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, or sister)
 A resident or former resident of the same household

If the relationship falls into any one of these categories, then the court may issue an order of protection, rather than an injunction against harassment. A standard order of protection enjoins the defendant from committing an act of domestic violence. It also prohibits the defendant from contacting the alleged victim, or going near that person’s home, place of employment, or school. In other words, if the defendant and alleged victim share a home together, the defendant will no longer be allowed in the home. An order of protection can also require any of the following:

 Prohibit the defendant from purchasing or possessing a firearm
 Require the defendant to temporarily transfer any currently possessed firearms to a law enforcement agency
 Require the defendant to complete a domestic violence offender treatment program
 Grant the plaintiff exclusive care or custody of any animal kept by the defendant, plaintiff, or a minor child

An order of protection typically has an expiration date of one year from the date that the
defendant is served.

Injunction Against Harassment

If the defendant and the plaintiff do not have a relationship that would warrant the issuing of an order of protection, then the plaintiff may request an injunction against harassment instead. An injunction may be used when the alleged victim alleges the defendant engaged in harassment, as defined by a series of actions directed at a certain person that annoys, harasses, or alarms that person.

This legal document is much like an order of protection. It is applicable when the two parties are dating or were formerly dating, as well as when the parties are neighbors or complete strangers. Another difference between an injunction against harassment and an order of protection is that the injunction cannot order that the plaintiff receive the exclusive use of the home (because the two parties are not household members) and the police aren’t mandated to serve an injunction.

Emergency Order of Protection

An emergency order of protection is very similar to an order of protection. It may be granted by any authorized judicial official verbally, in writing, or over the phone. An emergency order will only remain valid until the close of the next day of judicial business. It’s used in emergency situations when the courthouse is closed.

Release Order

In rural areas, an authorized judicial officer may not be available to issue an emergency order of protection. In these cases, a release order is issued instead. The release order is used when the accused domestic violence defendant is released from jail. The release order specifies the pretrial conditions that the accused must adhere to.

Any type of criminal charge is a grave matter, and a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence conviction can haunt you for many years to come. Protect your future and your freedom by arranging for aggressive legal representation. Janet Altschuler, criminal defense attorney, protects the rights of those accused in the Tucson area. Contact our law office at (520) 247-1789.

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