Your Guide to Protective Orders in Utah: Part 1

This is the first of a two-part series on protective orders in Utah. If you have been served with a protective order, you may feel like there is nothing you can do, especially if the allegations are false or exaggerated. However, the lawyers at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat can help with your case.

No matter your situation, it’s important to know how protective orders work, what they can restrict, how to avoid violating the terms, and what you can do to change or remove the order. This post focuses on the details of protective orders. Part 2 will explain more about violations and how to get an order lessened or removed.

What is a protective order in Utah?

In simple terms, a protective order is a court-backed rule that restricts a person from doing certain things. Protective orders are issued to protect a victim against harassment or violence including verbal abuse, physical abuse, threats of harm, sexual assault, stopping someone from getting help, breaking and throwing things, kidnapping, and stalking among other things. Protective orders are commonly issued after an allegation of domestic violence.

What types of protective orders are there?

Temporary (also called “ex parte”)

Protective orders generally start out as temporary. They are labeled as temporary because they are only in place until the court can hold an official hearing with both sides present. Temporary protective orders are in effect for up to 20 days, which is the time the courts have to schedule and hold the hearing. At the hearing, the judge will determine if the order will continue or not.

Extended or Permanent

At the court hearing, the judge will decide whether to extend the temporary protective order or drop it. If the judge grants the protective order, he or she can determine how long the order will be in place. There are circumstances where a protective order could be issued permanently.


This type of protective order is issued outside of a criminal context. For example, this could be an order against a stalker who hasn’t been charged with a crime of stalking.


A criminal protective order is issued by the courts in connection with a criminal case, usually for a violent crime or a charge of domestic violence.

Child Protective Order

If a minor needs protection from abuse or the potential for abuse, an adult can apply for a “Verified Petition for Protective Order on Behalf of Children.” In some circumstances, children who are at least 16 years old can apply for protection without an adult.

Extreme Risk Protective Order

This type of order is not officially Utah law, however, there have been attempts to get a bill passed. This may become a reality in the future. An extreme protective order would allow police to remove guns and ammunition from individuals who are allegedly violent or unstable.

What actions can a protective order restrict?

If you are served a protective order, it could have any of the following restrictions:

How does someone request a protective order?

If someone wants to file a protective order, they must answer the following questions and provide any evidence they have.

  1. Has the Respondent (person accused) used weapons or been violent in the past?
  2. Is the Respondent on probation or parole?
  3. What is your relationship to the Respondent?
  4. Describe the most recent abuse including when and where it happened and whether the police came to investigate the incident.
  5. Describe the abuse or domestic violence.
  6. What did the other person do or say to make you afraid?
  7. Did the other person use or threaten to use a gun or other weapon?
  8. Were any children present when this happened?
  9. Who else was there?
  10. Was anyone hurt?
  11. Describe past abuse including when and where it happened and whether the police came to investigate the incident.
  12. Are you or the Respondent on probation now for domestic violence?
  13. Have you or the Respondent ever been involved in any other court case involving either of you or your children?

When is a Protective Order Granted?

For a protective order to be granted, all three items in option 1 or option 2 must be met. The main difference between the two is whether harm was caused or is feared. Also, be aware that if someone doesn’t qualify for a protective order, they may still be able to file for other court injunctions.

Option 1: Harm was caused

Option 2: Harm is feared

How do I find a lawyer for my case?

If you have any questions about the specifics of your case or protective orders in Utah, you can always call one of our experienced defense lawyers at (801) 532-5297 for a free consultation.

Stay Tuned for Part 2

For information about violations, penalties, and how to get a protective order lessened or removed, stay tuned for part 2.

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