Victims of domestic violence have the option of requesting an order for protection to stop a person from coming near them, contacting them and possessing a firearm. These orders come from the courts and can prevent further abuse and violence.
Disobeying a court order has consequences, so it is in a person's best interests to comply with an order for protection. If you have been served with an order of protection, it is important to understand what can happen if you violate it for any reason.
Penalties for violating a protective order
Violating an order of protection ('OOP') is a crime. In Arizona, you can be charged with "interfering with judicial proceedings," which is a class one misdemeanor.
If you violate the OOP, police can immediately arrest and detain you.
If you are convicted, you could face up to six months in jail and fines of up to $2,500.
You can face additional charges and penalties for any other criminal act you allegedly committed while violating the order.
Types of violations
Depending on the specific language scripted into the initial OOP, there are many potential ways to violate it. It can be a violation to:
- Text, call, or email the alleged victim;
- Come within a forbidden distance from the alleged victim;
- Buy or keep a firearm;
- Respond to a message from the alleged victim;
- Try to communicate with the alleged victim by persuading friends or family members to pass along messages;
- Accept an invitation from the alleged victim to come to his or her house or place of employment; or
- Go to the other person's house even if he or she is not home -- and even if you lived there together in the past.
Should these or other violations occur, you can face criminal consequences. As such, complying with the terms of a protective order is crucial, even if you disagree with them and even if you want to reconcile with the alleged victim. Nor does the alleged victim have the power to make private exceptions to the OOP when it is convenient.
Courts take domestic violence and protection matters very seriously. You should, too.