Tag: Stalking

Utah Domestic Violence Coalition advocates for two proposed bills

Fox 13 News Reports:

Source: Fox13 News SALT LAKE CITY — Survivors of domestic violence are sharing their stories and hoping Utah lawmakers will pass two bills to advocate for victims.

Sarah Larsen, a domestic abuse survivor, said it’s an issue that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

“I feel like there’s such a stigma, there’s so much shame that’s attached to it, it’s hidden and at times out here in Utah too it sometimes gets shoved under the rug a little bit,” she said. “People don’t want to see it’s going on in their community.”

Advocates and survivors are hoping to raise awareness on what the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition is calling an epidemic.

“Since the year 2000, at least 42 percent of all homicides in Utah have been domestic violence related, so we’re really here just to get awareness out,” said Cly’ta Berg, Chair of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.

Larsen said victims of domestic abuse often conceal the signs.

“There’s such a fear that goes along with this, and so you’re able to cover it, and you hide it from your family members and from people who are close to you,” she said. “You just know how to hide it from them.”

Survivors are pushing for lawmakers to pass two bills.

One is a bill sponsored by House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City. His bill would restrict access to firearms for anyone convicted of domestic violence.

The second is a bill from Rep. Lowry Snow, R-St. George, that would make it so strangulation is included in the definition for the crime of aggravated assault. Utah is one of nine states without a strangulation law in effect.

“A police officer cannot physically hold the person, but if you are in a domestic partnership, they can strangle you,” Berg said. “So it’s against the law for a police officer, but a civilian you can.”

The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition is also asking for $939,000 from the state to expand the Lethality Assessment Program.

The program is protocol based. Victims answer a series of questions to show the severity of violence they are facing. It also gives officers standard training on how to refer victims to help.

“I think for those people who have loved ones who are in this situation: Don’t be so quick to judge,” Larsen advised. “I’ve had people say, ‘Just leave. Get out.’ But it’s not that easy.”

Support is available 24/7 in Utah for those dealing with domestic violence. Visit the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition online or call 1-800-897-5465 for resources and assistance. In an emergency, dial 911.

 

Source: Fox13 News

 

If you have been accused of protective order violation in Utah, you should strongly consider speaking with criminal attorneys Ogden  about criminal law Ogden. Further, Ogden Criminal defense is an experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys in Provo Utah can assist you in understanding all of your alternatives. The best criminal defense attorneys in Ogden or best criminal defense attorney in Lehi can help with your case. The best criminal defense attorney in Lehi or Ogden criminal defense attorney Stevens can help if you are faced with a Protective order violation. Ogden Criminal Defense is here to help. Ogden Criminal Lawyer, Vince Stevens can help. HD Gailey lawyers in American Fork are the best criminal defense attorneys Ogden.

Protective Orders Explained

Many people misunderstand that not all orders to stay away are the same. There are several different types of orders that require different penalties and conditions. There are No Contact Orders, Protective Order, Criminal No Contact Orders, Civil Stalking Injunctions and Restraining Orders.

Protective Orders

A Protective Order

Order is a court order that has specific requirements for behavior and is generally ordered in cohabitant situations. It in essence “protects” one of the people who feels like the other may harm them. The order specifically places conditions for no contact and to stay away from the other person. There are different kinds of protective orders.

Protective orders can be filed and enforceable as soon as the Request is served upon the other person. Upon service a court date is set for 14 days later and at that time a Permanent order may be entered. While waiting for the hearing you cannot directly or indirectly contact the victim. A Petition for Protective Order is a request that is filed during or after criminal case has concluded or outside of a criminal intervention. Meaning you do not have to file charges against the accused to be granted the order.  This may be part of a divorce proceeding or if the victim opts not to pursue criminal charges but needs the protection of an order from a cohabitant. Once granted it is entered into the state database and will appear as a flagged name or address on all databases for gun registries, background checks and when the police are called to an address or if you are pulled over.

Common Terms for these order may include child custody or supervised visitation arrangements as well as:

  • prohibiting the respondent from committing domestic violence or abuse
  • prohibiting the respondent from contacting the petitioner
  • excluding the respondent from petitioner’s residence, school, or workplace, or any other place
  • prohibiting the respondent from possessing a weapon
  • permitting the petitioner to use a vehicle or other personal property
  • granting the petitioner temporary custody of any children
  • appointing a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of any children, and
  • granting any other relief necessary for the safety and welfare of petitioner or another person.

Violating these laws will result in criminal charges.

(Utah Code §§ 78B-7-102, 78B-7-103, 78B-7-106, 78B-7-107.)

 

No Contact Order/Criminal No Contact/ Pretrial No Contact Order

No Contact Orders are granted when a person is arrested for assault, rape or domestic violence cases and are active while a criminal case is pending.  This usually is ordered if you are arrested and may remain effective through the entire time a criminal case is being prosecuted, during trial and through sentencing. At sentencing the order may be changed to a long term Protective order (cohabitant) or Criminal No Contact Order (non-cohabitant).  It could also be changed to a Civil Stalking Injunction as well depending on circumstance and protection requested by the victim. Once granted it is entered into the state database and will appear as a flagged name or address on all databases for gun registries, background checks and when the police are called to an address or if you are pulled over.

Whenever a defendant is charged with domestic violence, the court may issue a pre-trial protective order:

  • prohibiting the defendant from committing or threatening acts of domestic violence
  • prohibiting the defendant from contacting or communicating with the victim
  • excluding the respondent from petitioner’s residence, school, or workplace, or any other place, and
  • granting any other relief necessary for the safety and welfare of petitioner or another person.

The order remains in effect until the defendant’s trial. It is a crime to violate a pre-trial protective order.

(Utah Code § 77-36-2.7.)

 

Civil Stalking Injunction

A Civil Stalking Injunction is a Long Term Criminally Punishable order.  This is used in cases where there is not a cohabitation clause. Much like the Protective Order this is an option if there is no current criminal case. It is also an option if the victim and the alleged abuser are not cohabitants.  This is similar to a protective order as far as penalties and processes go as well. However, it is held to a high standard because there should be no reason for contact between the victim and alleged abuser because they do not share anything in common such as children or assets. In some cases this is used for business relationships that have gone downhill. This is usually used in cases where there was no relationship between two parties. A Civil Stalking Injunction can be used for roommates, neighbors, co-workers, stalking cases, harassment cases and other circumstances. Further, it does not require a criminal case just like a protective order. It requires 3 eminent danger or documented threats/medical reports or police reports as well.  This injunction is criminally punishable and enforceable through the police department. If violated, you can be arrested immediately. Once granted, it is entered into the state database and will appear as a flagged name or address on all databases for gun registries, background checks and when the police are called to an address or if you are pulled over.

Civil Restraining Order

Civil Restraining Orders are a long term order that is usually contained within an already existing order like a divorce or civil suit.  These do not carry any criminal penalties. A civil restraining order is often written into civil settlement agreements. To enforce a restraining order the petitioner would have to have a civil hearing to determine sanctions. Oftentimes, this is an order that is used for a “good will” or mutual order to agree not to bother someone else. It carries no immediate penalties and cannot be criminally punishable. Further, it cannot be enforced by police so it is often a frustration to many who misunderstand the order and mistake it for a protective order. However, courts will order a restraining order when the harm is not eminent but only in a civil case that already exists or was brought as part of another civil action. Sometimes it is a condition of probation in criminal cases but does not carry any penalties on its own. This is usually to alleviate the victim by provide some standard of behavior between the parties that is acceptable. It is not enforceable by the police and is only punishable through sanctions unless it is a condition of probation or parole but only until the sentence has commenced. This may be changed to a stronger order like a civil stalking injunction or protective order if it is violated multiple times and there is probable cause that criminal behavior has occurred during the violation that results in physical harm or breaks a law in regard to contact between two parties. For instance, a woman may have a restraining order issued in her divorce that bars her from contacting her ex-husbands new wife and harassing her with multiple calls daily. If her calls reach the level of communications harassment, she makes a threat of physical harm or behaviors constitute stalking the police may charge her with any of those crimes and a criminal no contact order may be issued during the case. However, it will not be considered a violation of the restraining order unless the victims husband requests a sanction hearing or order to show cause in the divorce case for violating the order. Further, restraining orders are not kept on the police data system to alert the police to specific people or addresses as believed to be dangerous or in need of protection and therefore are not placed on a higher status for response in emergency phone calls to 911 like the civil stalking injunction or the protective order.  This order limits the ability for police to respond unless the victim has a copy of the paperwork on hand and even at that unless a criminally applicable law has been broken or there is eminent danger they may not intervene and will refer you to the civil courts to handle the violation through the divorce or the restraining order case directly.

Sentencing

If you are convicted of violating an order or you contact a victim before being released after arrest you could be charged with another crime of a third degree felony or a class A or B misdemeanor and anywhere from six months to 5 years in prison as well as a $0-$5000 fine. Subsequent violations could earn enhancements on the following scale:

  • a class B misdemeanor, then it is punishable as a class A misdemeanor by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500, or
  • a class A misdemeanor, then it is punishable as a third degree felony, punishable by a prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.

(Utah Code §§ 76-3-203, 76-3-204, 76-3-301, 76-5-108, 77-36-1.1, 77-36-2.5, 77-36-2.7, 78B-7-106.)

 

If you have been accused of protective order violation in Utah, you should strongly consider speaking with criminal attorneys Ogden  about criminal law Ogden. Further, Ogden Criminal defense is an experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys in Provo Utah can assist you in understanding all of your alternatives. The best criminal defense attorneys in Ogden or best criminal defense attorney in Lehi can help with your case. The best criminal defense attorney in Lehi or Ogden criminal defense attorney Stevens can help if you are faced with a Protective order violation. Ogden Criminal Defense is here to help. Ogden Criminal Lawyer, Vince Stevens can help. HD Gailey lawyers in American Fork are the best criminal defense attorneys Ogden.

 

STALKING: What is it?

STALKING: What is it?

STALKING: What is it?

Under Utah criminal laws (UCC 76-5-106.5), stalking is defined as intentionally or knowingly engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person and knowing that such conduct would cause a reasonable person to

1.  Fear for their safety or the safety of another, or
2.  Suffer emotional stress.

You can also be found guilty of stalking for violating an already existing stalking injunction.

Generally, for a first offense, stalking is charged as a Class A Misdemeanor and carries up to 1 year in jail and a potential $2,500 fine.  See UCC 76-5-106.5

However, if this isn’t your first stalking offense, if you’ve violated laws against the same victim, or if the act was done in violation of a permanent stalking injunction, the charge can and most likely will be increased to a 3rd Degree Felony.  A felony in Utah the 3rd degree level has a potential prison sentence of up to 5 years and upt to a $5,000 fine. See UCC 76-5-106.5

Stalking can even be elevated to a 2nd Degree Felony if the alleged crime was done with a dangerous weapon or you have 2 or more prior convictions for similar offenses. This felony crime carries a potential 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

STALKING: What is it?

STALKING: What is it?
STALKING: What is it?

You should also know that it is not  it is not a defense to say that you were not given actual notice that the course of conduct was unwanted; or that you did not intend to cause the victim fear or other emotional distress.  See UCC 76-5-106.5

The stalking laws of Utah are fairly complex and discussing your case with an attorney with our office will help you get a better idea of the outcome you are facing and why you’ve been charged with a particular offense.   We are here to help you.

Stalking cases typically happen between two people who know each other.  Often times, the person suspected of committing a crime doesn’t understand why they have been arrested and charged—they see it all as a misunderstanding. Unfortunately, misunderstandings like these can have disastrous consequences. When you are accused of stalking or harassing someone, a criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges to minimize their impact on your life.

Maybe you admit you made a mistake.  Or you may feel like the alleged victim is making up lies about you in order to get you into trouble. We will listen to your side of the story and work to get you the best results possible in court.  It is vitally important that if you have a civil stalking injunction against you, that you stay away from any protected parties.  STAY AWAY, we can help sort out the details later but for the immediate future obey the Judge’s orders and STAY AWAY.   Contact our office today for a free consultation on any charges you may have received.

STALKING: What is it?