Logo
Call Now(480)305-8300

Social Media and Restraining Orders in Arizona

Posted on : May 5, 2016, By:  Christopher Hildebrand
Social Media and Protection Orders in Arizona

Social Media and Restraining Orders in Arizona

A court-issued protection order is intended to safeguard you from contact with persons who have threatened, harassed or abused you. But in this age of social media, it is possible for these same people to “contact” you in ways wholly unanticipated in laws and court rulings, such as social media friend requests, nudges, pokes or posts. Courts are trying hard to adjust, but it’s a slow procedure, especially when a judge grew up before the digital age and is unfamiliar with the types of invasive and abusive contacts that social media can allow. Here’s an overview of what’s happening in the law now.

Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
A Google User
A Google User
20:31 20 Sep 17
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
A Google User
A Google User
21:41 07 Nov 17
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
Google User
Google User
14:58 04 Oct 17
Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
A Google User
A Google User
16:03 22 Nov 17
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
A Google User
A Google User
22:14 28 Jun 17
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
A Google User
A Google User
18:16 18 Sep 17
Kevin Park of Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
A Google User
A Google User
19:22 23 Aug 17
I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
A Google User
A Google User
17:44 23 Jun 16
I retained Hildebrand Law after interview a number of firms in the valley. Working with Michael C. was incredibly easy and informative. My case progressed in such a organized and thought out way to ensure that my needs were met. Michael was incredibly proactive and was able to see far ahead into my case to steer clear of some roadblocks. I would not hesitate to recommend Michael Clancy, and Hildebrand Law in general, to anyone.
Bassam Ziadeh
Bassam Ziadeh
21:20 02 Apr 18
I have worked with Hildebrand law for about 8 years. They are always ready to serve, provide guidance and give you a few options. When they provide you options they also take the time to walk you through the pros and cons of each and give you a recommendation of what is best, but will listen to you and support whatever course you choose after making and educated choice. I’d recommend them to my closest friends and feel Chris Hildebrand is now a friend to me.
Larry Flint
Larry Flint
21:53 27 Feb 18
Despite the unfortunate situation I found myself in, Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law helped me maneuver every step with professionalism, expertise, and even a sensitivity that was an added bonus.Chris and his staff helped me even when I didn't know I needed the help. In other words. . . they made sure we did not leave anything undone. And in the rare instance we needed the expertise of another professional, Chris knew exactly who to recommend.Chris also knew, because of his experience, what to anticipate down the road of litigation. That meant we were better prepared to meet the challenges head on, which lead to a more equitable and fair outcome. I appreciated that Chris did his best to meet my every need in a timely fashion, even if I had a simple question that required only a phone call or e-mail or if we needed to talk face-to-face.I highly recommend Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law, PC.
Sam Franchimone
Sam Franchimone
22:09 12 Sep 13

Restraining Orders (i.e., Orders of Protection) in Arizona

A protective order also called an Order of Protection or, in other states, an abuse prevention order is a restraining order prohibiting an individual – to whom the order is directed – from contacting you and from committing additional acts of abuse. Generally, a protective order directs the individual to stay away from your home and place of work, and not to contact you in any way.

In order to obtain a protective order in Arizona, you have to go to court and file papers detailing the threats and/or abuse and in support of your request for a restraining order. Protective Orders can be issued by any court in the State of Arizona, and are intended to stop a person from committing an act of harassment or domestic violence. These types of cases are given high priority because of the need to protect someone from harm. If the individual violates the order, it is a criminal offense, and you can call the police and have him or her arrested.

Electronic Contact Protective Order laws were developed in response to the days when “contact” meant showing up at someone’s home or workplace, or making phone calls. In these days of lightning-fast electronic communications via social media, the laws and court orders are evolving – although not as rapidly as some would like. From the dawn of social media, lawyers have argued that “contact” includes electronic contact, and that a no-contact restraining order automatically includes conduct online. This would mean that the person who is the subject of the order cannot send emails to the protected person.

In time, any courts these days include the phrase “including electronic contact” in restraining orders. This is the case in Arizona. According to the Elizabeth Buffam Chace Center, a violation of an Arizona restraining order is a criminal offense, punishable by up to one year in prison, or up to $1,000 fine. Any contact in person, by phone, letter, email, social media or through a third party is considered a violation of the Restraining Order, even non-threatening contact.

The “Elonis” Case

In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court took up the appeal of Anthony Elonis’ conviction in Elonis v. United States (Docket No. 12-983, Term 2014). He had posted rap lyrics on Facebook that described shooting his estranged wife with the bullet passing right through her protective order papers. He was convicted of transmitting threats by interstate commerce. However, instead of discussing free speech rights vs. protective orders on social media, the Court overturned Elonis’s conviction on the grounds that the lower court told the jury to determine whether a reasonable person would have found the content threatening, rather than requiring proof of some mental intent on Elonis’s part in order to convict. The Court said that “wrongdoing must be conscious to be criminal” and the prosecution had to show that Elonis was aware that the statement threatened his wife, rather than whether a “reasonable person” would consider the statement a threat.

Most state courts will find that a person can violate a no-contact order by electronic contact, contact via social media, contact through a third person, contact through mail or direct contact. For example, in the New York case of People v. Gonzalez, 15-6081M, Maria Gonzalez was divorced from her spouse and she obtained a protection order preventing her from contacting him or his family.

Social Media and Restraining Orders in Arizona.

Social Media and Restraining Orders in Arizona.

She tagged her former sister-in-law in disparaging Facebook posts and was arrested for it. She argued in court that this was not a violation since the court’s order did not specifically mention Facebook. The court disagreed and sent her to jail for a year. In a Michigan case, a protective order was issued but not served on Chad Monroe, prohibiting contact with his ex-girlfriend. Although he knew about the order, he posted nude photographs of the woman on the Internet, saying that he would continue doing so until she committed suicide. He claimed he was within his rights since he hadn’t been served with the order, but he was criminally charged with misdemeanor stalking and felony unlawful posting of a message on the Internet.

Lawyers representing people who have been served with protective orders often advise them never to contact the protected person, never to refer to the protected person on social media, either by name or by description (e.g. my spouse, my ex-spouse) and also to avoid posting any photos of the protected person.

In Connecticut, you can be arrested for violating a protective if you text, email or engage in Facebook, Twitter or Instagram activity with the protected person. According to Connecticut attorneys, prosecutors and domestic violence court judges have zero tolerance for any violations of this order, so even an automated Facebook email or message that goes out to a group distribution list that includes the protected person can result in a felony charge.

Colorado courts have also weighed in on the issue of whether actions on social media sites like Facebook can constitute a violation of a no-contact restraining order. The quick answer: Yes. Contacting a protected person via social media sites like Twitter and Facebook could result in a charge that you violated your restraining order. Other actions than messaging can lead to charges. In Florida, Harry Bruder — the subject of a restraining order that prohibited contact with his estranged wife — was arrested after he contacted her through Facebook. And Tennessee authorities arrested and charged Shannon D. Jackson with violating an order of protection when she sent a virtual “poke” to another woman on Facebook.

Problems with Prosecution

In Massachusetts, Thomas Gagnon, was charged with violating a restraining order after his ex-girlfriend received a Google Plus invitation, purportedly from him. In the same state, Rebecca Shaw was arrested for violating a restraining order when her daughter received an email announcing that Shaw was “following” her Pinterest page. Gagnon claimed that Google sends out the invitations automatically, without the input or consent of Google Plus members, while Rebecca Shaw claimed that someone else opened the account in her name and followed her daughter.

These cases show some of the difficulty involved in social media cases. However, these issues are decided, modern courts are catching on to ways in which social media is being used to circumvent protective orders. More and more, courts are framing and interpreting the orders to cover electronic harassment and contact.

How to Protect Yourself

If you are considering getting a protective order and want to protect yourself from social media contacts from the individual, here are the two steps to follow: 1) Look for an attorney who is technology savvy. Generally this means that the firm will have a web presence, like a blog or a social media presence; and 2) Talk to the attorney about what the individual is likely to do to try to evade a protective order, the types of social media accounts he or she uses and whether he or she has made any threats about using social media against you.



Related Blogs – What’s Hot