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Finding Legal Help

You are not required to hire an attorney, but legal matters can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options. See the Finding Legal Help page for information about free and low cost ways to get legal help. 

Como encontrar ayuda legal

Usted no está obligado a contratar un abogado, pero los asuntos legales pueden ser complicados. Considere la posibilidad de hablar con un abogado para hablar de sus opciones. Para información sobre cómo obtener ayuda legal vea nuestra página Como encontrar ayuda legal.

Sexual Violence Protective Orders

Need help?


If you are in danger, call: 911

You can also contact the Domestic Violence Hotline. They can help people find emergency housing, medical care, and support and advocacy for the person being abused and for their children. Call toll-free: 800-897-5465, or visit the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition website (udvc.org).

Introduction

This page is about sexual violence protective orders. It explains how to ask for one and how to respond to a request for one.

A victim of sexual violence can request a sexual violence protective order against the person who committed the sexual violence. A sexual violence protective order lasts for one year.

Your situation might not qualify for a sexual violence protective order. There may be other options.

If…

Legal options include…

If…

Petitioner and respondent are

  • related
  • live together (or used to live together)
  • parents of a child together (or expecting the birth of a child together)

Legal options include…

a cohabitant abuse protective order.

If…

Petitioner and respondent have or had a dating relationship

Legal options include…

dating violence protective order.

If…

A child needs protection from sexual or physical abuse

Legal options include…

a child protective order filed on behalf of the child by an adult.

A child who is 16 or 17 can also apply for a cohabitant abuse protective order on their own.

If…

Sexual violence did not occur

and

petitioner and respondent do not have a connection which qualifies for a cohabitant abuse protective order

Legal options include…

a Civil stalking injunction.

What is a sexual violence protective order?

A sexual violence protective order is an order from the court that tells one person (the respondent) to stay away from and not contact another person (the petitioner), if the court finds the respondent committed sexual violence.

A sexual violence protective order can order the respondent to:

  • Not commit any sexual violence against people listed on the order.
  • Not contact or communicate in any way with people listed on the order.
  • Stay away from the petitioner's home, work, school, or place of worship.
  • Comply with restrictions at the respondent's home, work, school, and place of worship.
  • Not possess, have, or buy a firearm or other type of weapon.

A violation of a sexual violence protective order is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine.

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence includes:

  • Rape
  • Object rape
  • Sodomy
  • Forcible sodomy
  • Forcible sexual abuse
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Custodial sexual relations
  • Custodial sexual misconduct
  • Indecent liberties
  • Sexual exploitation of a vulnerable adult or a child
  • Distribution of an intimate image
  • Sexual extortion
  • Human trafficking for forced sexual exploitation
  • Aggravated human trafficking for forced sexual exploitation

See Utah Code 78B-7-502(5) for a complete list.

Who can ask for a sexual violence protective order?

A person can ask for a sexual violence protective order if:

  • They are 18 or older, or have been emancipated by marriage or a court order.
  • They are not a cohabitant of the respondent.
  • They are not a dating partner of the respondent.
  • The respondent has committed or tried to commit sexual violence against the petitioner.

How to ask for a sexual violence protective order


Step 1 – Fill out the required forms and file them at the court

Fill out the required form to ask for a sexual violence protective order. The forms listed here are available in the Forms section below:

  • Request for Sexual Violence Protective Order
  • Temporary Sexual Violence Protective Order
  • Sexual Violence Protective Order
  • Service Assistance Form

File the required court forms with the district court of the county in Utah where you or the respondent resides, or where the events occurred.

There is no filing fee or cost for the court forms to ask for a sexual violence protective order.

Step 2 – The court reviews the request

After filing the Request for Sexual Violence Protective Order at the court, a judge or commissioner reviews the request and will either issue a temporary sexual violence protective order or deny the request.

If the judge or commissioner finds the request meets the legal requirements, they will sign a temporary "ex parte" protective order.

If the respondent is in Utah, the sheriff or constable will serve a copy of the order on the respondent, and the order becomes effective once it is served. If the respondent is outside of Utah, the petitioner must arrange for service of the order by a sheriff or constable in the other state.

Step 3 – Go to the hearing

If the court grants a temporary protective order, it will schedule a hearing within 20 days to give the respondent an opportunity to be heard. The date and time for the hearing will be written on the temporary protective order.

The court may extend the 20-day period for a temporary sexual violence protective order only if a party swears in an affidavit they are not able to be present at the hearing for a good reason, the respondent has not been served with the temporary sexual violence protective order, or exigent circumstances exist.

Both the petitioner and respondent should go to the hearing.

  • If the respondent does not come to the hearing, the court may grant the sexual violence protective order without any input from the respondent.
  • If the petitioner does not come to the hearing, the court will dismiss the temporary sexual violence protective order.
  • If the respondent has not been served with a copy of the temporary sexual violence protective order before the hearing, the petitioner should still attend the hearing and request an extension, or the case will be dismissed.

The hearing will be in front of a judge or a commissioner, depending on the district. In Judicial Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4, commissioners are assigned to hear protective order cases.

The hearing is the opportunity for the petitioner to tell the court why it should issue the sexual violence protective order and the respondent to tell the court why it should not. Both parties should bring any evidence and witnesses they have to the hearing. If a party does not attend the hearing, or does not bring their evidence to the hearing, that party will miss their opportunity to present evidence.

After the judge or commissioner hears from both parties, they will decide whether to dismiss the temporary sexual violence protective order or to enter a final protective order.

If the court issues a sexual violence protective order, the temporary sexual violence protective order will remain in place until the sexual violence protective order is served on the respondent. Utah Code Sections 78B-7-505(1)(b) and (1)(d).

If the request for a temporary sexual violence protective order is denied

If the court denies the request for a temporary sexual violence protective order, the petitioner can request a hearing using the form found in the Forms section below. The court will serve the respondent with notice of the hearing.

If the request for a sexual violence protective order is denied after the hearing

If the court does not issue a sexual violence protective order after the hearing, the temporary sexual violence protective order will expire, unless the court extends it.

What if I disagree with what the judicial officer decides at the hearing?

  • If a commissioner made the decision, the petitioner or respondent may file an objection within 10 calendar days after the day on which the commissioner enters the recommended order. The assigned judge will hold a hearing on the objection within 20 days after the day on which the objection is filed. Utah Code Section 78B-7-505(1)(f). See the Objecting to a Commissioner's Recommendation web page for more information and forms.
  • If a judge made the decision, that decision is final. If the petitioner or respondent disagrees with the judge's decision, the petitioner or respondent should get legal advice to see if an appeal is possible.

Firearms

A sexual violence protective order may include language that prohibits the respondent from owning firearms. Read the protective order carefully, and consider talking to an attorney. See our Finding Legal Help page for information about free and low cost ways to get the help of an attorney.

Extending a sexual violence protective order

A sexual violence protective order automatically expires one year from the date the order is entered.

If a petitioner wants to extend the sexual violence protective order, they must file a motion to extend the sexual violence protective order before the day on which the order expires. The respondent must receive notice of the motion. The court will schedule a hearing. At the hearing, the court must find that extending the order is necessary to protect the petitioner or any party named in the order.

If the district court grants the motion, the extended sexual violence protective order must be served on the respondent. The district court cannot extend the order for more than one year after the day on which the district court grants the extension. A sexual violence protective order can only be extended one time.

If the court denies the motion, the sexual violence protective order expires.

Utah Code Section 78B-7-505(3).

Modifying or dismissing a sexual violence protective order

If the petitioner wants to modify an existing sexual violence protective order, they can file a motion to modify the order. The process the court will follow is the same as the initial request for a sexual violence protective order. The petitioner will file a motion, and the court will decide whether or not to issue an ex parte modified order that will be served on the respondent. Utah Code Section 78B-7-504(1).

A respondent may ask the court to modify or dismiss a sexual violence protective order. To make the request, the respondent must give notice to the petitioner using personal service. For information about personal service, see the Serving Papers web page.

The petitioner must consent to the modification or dismissal of the sexual violence protective order. To consent, the petitioner must appear before the court or submit a signed affidavit agreeing to the modification or dismissal.

Utah Code Section 78B-7-504(7).

If the respondent violates sexual violence protective order

A violation of a sexual violence protective order is a crime. If the petitioner thinks the respondent is violating the sexual violence protective order, the petitioner should call the police. The petitioner may have to show the police a copy of the sexual violence protective order.

Forms


Request a sexual violence protective order

  • Request for sexual violence protective order - PDF | Word
  • Temporary sexual violence protective order - PDF | Word
  • Sexual violence protective order - PDF | Word
  • Notice of Hearing - PDF | Word
  • Service Assistance Form - PDF | Word

Request for hearing – when a request for temporary sexual violence protective order denied

Forms needed for petitioner to ask for a hearing when a temporary sexual violence protective order has not been issued

  • Request for Hearing on Protective Order - PDF | Word

Request a temporary sexual violence protective order be changed

Forms needed for petitioner to ask that a temporary sexual violence protective order be changed

  • Request to Modify Sexual Violence Protective Order - PDF | Word
  • Notice of Hearing - PDF | Word
  • Modified Temporary Sexual Violence Protective Order - PDF | Word

Request a final sexual violence protective order be changed

Forms needed for petitioner to ask that a final sexual violence protective order be changed

  • Request to Modify Sexual Violence Protective Order - PDF | Word
  • Notice of Hearing - PDF | Word
  • Modified Sexual Violence Protective Order - PDF | Word

Request a temporary or final sexual violence protective order be dismissed

Forms needed to ask that a temporary or final sexual violence protective order be dismissed

  • Request to Dismiss Sexual Violence Protective Order - PDF | Word
  • Notice of Hearing - PDF | Word
  • Order on Request to Dismiss Sexual Violence Protective Order - PDF | Word

Court use only

  • Order Denying Temporary Sexual Violence Protective Order - PDF | Word
  • Order Dismissing Request for Sexual Violence Protective Order - PDF | Word

Related Information

The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.


Page Last Modified: 10/17/2019
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