Consequences of Violating an Order of Protection in Arizona
What Happens When an Order of Protection is Violated
If an individual fails to comply with restraining orders included in a restraining order or order of protection after having been served with that restraining order, he or she may be held in contempt of court or be arrested and charged with the misdemeanor crime of interference with judicial proceedings. Multiple violations could lead to more serious felony charges being filed against the defendant. When the court order of protection says there is to be “no contact”, the defendant is prohibited by contacting you in any way, including sending you letters, emails, phone calls, text, instant messages, gifts, or contact through a third party, except through legal counsel. The phrase “no contact” means just that. If the defendant attempts to contact you, they are in violation of that court order.
Some people believe they can use social media or mutual acquaintances to relay the message to the person protected by the Order of Protection. Those contacts can also be a violation of the Order of Protection and could lead to the arrest of the person violating the order. Such a violation can also lead to criminal charges. A person may, however, communicate with the attorney who represents the person who obtained the Order of Protection.
Instead of violating the protective order, a person against whom an Order of Protection has been issued may seek to either modify the restraining order or seek to have it dismissed entirely. To do so, the person against whom the protective order has been issued can request a hearing to modify or dismiss the Order of Protection. The court is then required to schedule a trial within ten days (within 5 days if the protective order removed a person from his or own home) at which time the person who obtained the Order of Protection must testify and present evidence as to why the order should stay in place. The defendant then has the opportunity to present his or her evidence as to why the Order of Protection should be dismissed or modified.
What to Do if an Order of Protection is Violated
If the court order is violated, you should contact the police immediately. When a violation occurs, the police can arrest the defendant who violated the order of protection. Carry your order of protection on you at all times, so you have the order available to provide to law enforcement if they need to respond. If the police see the violation or there is a good reason to believe a violation occurred, law enforcement officers are required to make an arrest. If this occurs, and the arrest is followed by formal criminal charges against the defendant, you may be required to attend court hearings in that criminal case as a witness.
The order of protection may only be a piece of paper, but it provides a victim of abuse or harassment legal protection. Always report violations of the order of protection to law enforcement. Even if no charges are filed, you should always retain a copy of the incident report to document the report of the violation. It is also important that you not rely solely on an Order of Protection to keep you safe. There are many things you can do to ensure your own safety such as paying for a security system, hiring executive protections companies to post someone in your home or at work, and other common sense things you can do to be aware of your surroundings and provide for your own personal safety. You should also let friends, family, and coworkers about any concerns you have for your safety so others can look after you as well.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about the consequences of violating an order of protection in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about the order of protection laws in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through an order of protection case should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.