Know the Laws: Utah
UPDATED November 15, 2016
A protective order is a civil order that provides protection from a current or former "cohabitant," which is defined here.
This section defines abuse for the purposes of getting a protective order.
Abuse, for the purposes of filing for a protective order in Utah, occurs when a “cohabitant”
Note: If you are being abused by someone who you dated but with whom you never lived, you may be eligible for a dating violence protective order (which lasts for 180 days) – see the Utah Courts website for more information. If you are seeking a protective order only for your child (and not also for yourself), your child may be eligible for a child protective order, which you can read more about on the Utah Courts website. If you do not qualify for a domestic violence protective order, you may be able to get a civil stalking injunction. You can read more about this typr of order on our Stalking Injunctions page.
* UT ST § 78B-7-102(1)
There are two types of protective orders in Utah.
A temporary ex parte protective order can be granted if the judge believes it is necessary to protect you (and any other “protected parties” in your petition) from harm.* 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.*1 If the judge does not grant you an ex parte order, you can still request to have a hearing for a final protective order.*2
A final protective order can be issued only after a court hearing in which both you and the abuser both have a chance to be present 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 (and you still may be required to testify about the incidents in your petition).*3
The length of time that the final protective order lasts depends on the terms of the order. The protective order clearly divides up which sections are considered "civil" and "criminal," as you can see on the Utah Courts website here. The civil part of the order, dealing with property, custody, etc., will either expire (or be reviewed/extended by the judge) in 150 days. The criminal part of the order, which deals with the abuser staying away from you, not contacting you, not abusing you, not having firearms, etc., can last forever. However, it is possible that after a certain period of time (usually two years), the abuser can file in court ask for the order to be dismissed.*4 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.
* UT ST § 78B-7-106(1)(a)
*1 UT ST § 78B-7-107(1)(a)
*2 UT ST § 78B-7-107(3)
*3 UT ST § 78B-7-106(3)
*4 UT ST § 78B-7-115
In an ex parte protective order, the judge can order that the abuser:
Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.
* UT ST§ 78B-7-106(2)(a)-(e); see the temporary protective order form
** UT ST§ 78B-7-106(2)(f)-(h)
*** UT ST§ 78B-7-106(3); see the protective order form
**** See UT ST§ 78B-7-106(7)
You can file a petition at the district court in the county where you live, in the county where the abuser lives, or in the county where the abuse took place.*
* UT ST § 78B-7-104