Supporting defendants facing criminal charges and order violations in Salt Lake City
If you have been charged with violating a no-contact order in Utah, the consequences can be far-reaching. Our criminal defense lawyers at Intermountain Legal in Salt Lake City help you make sense of what is happening and plan your next steps. Our attorneys have experience with the criminal laws underlying a protective order, as well as orders themselves, and have developed relationships with local prosecutors and judges that enable us to get the results a defendant is unlikely to get while working on his or her own.
What is a Utah no-contact order?
A no-contact order is an order issued by the court in conjunction with a criminal case in which there were allegations of a violent or threatening act, most commonly domestic violence. It expressly requires the alleged abuser to have no personal contact with the victim, not threaten or harass the victim or go onto the premises of the victim’s residence or anywhere the victim is temporarily living. The prohibition on personal contact includes sending messages through third parties.
Utah law requires that a no-contact order be issued at the time an alleged perpetrator is released from jail after an initial arrest for domestic violence. The purpose of the order is to allow the victim time to obtain a civil protective order. A no-contact order may also be issued when an alleged perpetrator is first booked into jail to prevent him or her from harassing the victim. Although it is not required, Utah courts may even issue a no-contact order if the alleged perpetrator is never taken to jail when a prosecutor requests it, either to protect the victim or to prevent the alleged perpetrator from trying to influence the victim not to testify.
What are the differences between a no-contact and protective order?
A Utah no-contact order is similar to a protective order. The major difference between the two is that a protective order is a civil order initiated by the victim who therefore retains some control over the terms of the order and how long it lasts. In contrast, a no-contact order is ordered by a criminal court in conjunction with a criminal case, sometimes even against the wishes of the victim.
Getting a Utah no-contact order dismissed
When a no-contact order is issued against the wishes of the victim, the most effective way to attempt to remove it is to seek the help of knowledgeable Salt Lake City lawyers. A criminal defense attorney can file a motion with the court and petition to have the order dismissed. If hiring a defense lawyer is not an option, there are additional possibilities for the victim:
- Contact the victim’s advocate assigned to the criminal case, if there is one.
- Contact the prosecutor and ask him or her to request the judge to dismiss the order, although the prosecutor is not required to do so.
- Write a letter directly to the judge who issued the order, explaining why it should be dismissed, although judges may or may not have the time or inclination to respond.
- Wait for the order to expire.
If an order was issued at the time of booking or release from jail, it usually expires at the end of the day of the perpetrator’s first appearance in court. If the order was issued at the request of the prosecutor, it is usually lifted when the case is resolved.
Utah no-contact order violation consequences
Utah imposes severe consequences for no-contact order violations. Contacting a victim from jail if an order in place is a Class B misdemeanor, that may be penalized by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Once the alleged perpetrator is released from jail, the criminal consequences depend on the original underlying criminal charge. If the original charge was for a misdemeanor, then a violation results in re-arrest for a Class A misdemeanor with penalties of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. If the original charge was a felony, then a violation results in a re-arrest for a third degree felony with mandated consequences of up to five years in prison and a fine of up $5,000. Additionally, the perpetrator can be held in jail without bail.
Contact a Utah lawyer for assistance with your criminal case today
At Intermountain Legal, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance. If you have been charged with a violating a no-contact order in Salt Lake City, Park City or anywhere in Utah, contact us online or by calling 801-990-4200. We offer a free initial consultation where we discuss the circumstances surrounding your charge and the first steps you need to take.