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Legal Information: Utah

Restraining Orders

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November 19, 2020

What types of protective orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of protective orders in Utah.

A temporary ex parte protective order can be granted if the judge believes it that domestic violence or abuse has occurred or that there is a substantial likelihood domestic violence or abuse will occur. The purpose of the order is to protect you from harm, and any other “protected parties” in your petition.1 If the judge grants an ex parte protective order, s/he will set a date for a hearing within 20 days after the order is issued.2 If the judge does not grant you an ex parte order, you can still request to have a hearing for a final protective order within five days after the judge denies your petition.3

A final protective order can be issued only after a court hearing in which both you and the abuser both have a chance to appear in court and present evidence to tell your sides of the story. If the abuser decides not to attend, a protective order can still be granted by the judge. You still may be required to testify about the incidents in your petition.4 A final protective order lasts for three years.5 However, it’s possible for the order to last more than three years, until a date that the judge determines, if you file a motion before expiration of the protective order in which you prove that:

  1. the abuser has been convicted of a protective order violation or any crime of domestic violence after the protective order was issued; or
  2. you have a “reasonable fear of future harm, abuse, or domestic violence.”5

However, it is possible that after a certain period of time the abuser can file in court to ask for the order to be dismissed. The time period is usually one year but there are exceptions.5 For more information, go to Can the abuser or I request that the order be dismissed? In addition, if you and the abuser are going through a divorce, this can affect the length of the order. See If I am going through a divorce, will that affect the length of my protective order? for more information.6

1 UT ST § 78B-7-603(1)(a)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-604(1)(a)
3 UT ST § 78B-7-604(3)
4 UT ST § 78B-7-603(3)
5 UT ST § 78B-7-606
6 UT ST § 78B-7-605