Restraining Orders – How You Can Violate a Restraining/Protective Order

  • In 2015, domestic violence hotlines in Arizona received 25,185 calls. Involvement in any type of domestic violence dispute can lead to one party filing a restraining order against the other. The Arizona courts impose restraining orders, or “orders of protection,” against alleged perpetrators to prevent further harm to the victim. A restraining order means the abuser cannot have any contact with the victim – in person, over the phone, or online. The order can also have other stipulations a person might not know about until the police are arresting him or her for a restraining order violation.

    Refusal to Leave a Residence

    The court has the right to issue an order of protection that grants one party exclusive possession of a residence. The courts can force the abuser to move off a property if there is reasonable cause to believe harm would otherwise occur. In these cases, the perpetrator must move away from the property in a specified amount of time and not return until the terms of the restraining order expire. The only way a person in this situation can legally visit a property is if a law enforcement officer accompanies him or her to retrieve belongings.

    Failure to Keep Your Distance

    A restraining order can dictate a minimum distance that a perpetrator must keep away from the victim, children, a residence, schools, workplaces, and other individuals at all times. The distance, locations, and people on the restraining will vary depending on what the court deems safe for the victim. Failure to keep your distance from these people and places as the restraining order directs can result in a restraining order violation and arrest.

    Breaking a No Contact Order

    According to Arizona Code 13-3602, the courts have the right to issue an order of no contact, meaning the perpetrator cannot have any contact with the victim or others on the order – such as children. This means physical contact and communication via phone, text, social medial online message, chat room, or letter in the mail. Any form of contact violates the terms of a no contact order.

    Purchase or Possession of a Firearm

    Some restraining orders have a condition that prohibits the defendant from purchasing or possessing a firearm for the duration of the order of protection. An AZ court will add this provision to a restraining order if a judge feels the defendant presents a credible threat to the safety of the plaintiff or other persons. If the court has prohibited you from owning a firearm, transfer any firearms you own or possess to an appropriate law enforcement agency immediately after the court serves you the order. The firearms transfer lasts for the duration of the restraining order.

    Visiting Your Kids

    As harmless as a trip to see your kids might feel, it’s a major violation of a retraining order if there are court-ordered child visitation rules. If the courts granted the petitioner exclusive custody, care, and/or control of a child, you cannot visit or contact them in any way. This will last for the duration of your order, unless the courts order otherwise or the petitioner changes the terms of the restraining order to include restricted visitation or custody rights.

    Sneaking Away the Family Pet

    Some restraining orders also protect animals the petitioner owns from contact with the perpetrator. The order may forbid you to visit, take, transfer, conceal, or commit an act of cruelty against an animal(s). If this is the case, you cannot see or try to take the pet for as long as the duration of the order.

    Failure to understand the parameters of your restraining order can lead to a violation, punishable in Arizona with a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, fines of up to $2,500, and jail time of up to six months. Protect yourself from further legal trouble and talk to a Phoenix domestic violence attorney. They know the exact terms and how you can prevent your restraining order violation.