In Phoenix and other areas of Arizona, A.R.S 13-3602 refers to an order of protection (OOP) or injunction against harassment (IAH). A judge issues such an order or injunction, also referred to as a “restraining order,” to prevent someone from committing an act of domestic violence against a victim. The victim may also have suffered sexual assault, harassment, or other family crime.
A judge or justice of the peace will issue an IAH after hearing a statement from the person seeking protection. As such, the person being accused often has no idea that such proceedings are occurring. Once the IAH is in place, the defendant can’t contact the person seeking protection or go within a preset distance of the person’s place of work, school, or residence.
If the defendant contacts the accuser in any way or violates the IAH, one or more consequences may play out. The charge of violating an IAH is a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona.
After the alleged violation occurs, the first consequence is an immediate arrest. The accused will be held in custody until a judge determines what the release conditions should be, depending on the severity of the offense. If the accused is convicted, the punishment includes up to six months in jail with a fine of up to $2,500.
If you’ve been accused of violating an IAH, your best bet is to deny that your behavior violated the injunction. In some cases, the accuser will invite the defendant to meet with him or her, whether to discuss the matter or to patch things up in the relationship. This, however, is not acceptable behavior on the part of the accuser. Because the injunction is put in place by a judge, only a judge can reverse it.
An example of this type of case would be if a couple reconvened to discuss the situation, resulting in a loud or violent argument. This may prompt neighbors or other bystanders to call a law enforcement officer, who will run a background check on both individuals to look for prior arrests.
If the officer discovers the order, the accused may be arrested. In this case, it doesn’t matter if the accuser tells the officer he or she invited the defendant to meet with him or her; the arrest is still fully warranted.
In complex cases like the one outlined above, an attorney can help negotiate between the two parties. An attorney can also help each party deal with law enforcement. At the Stewart Law Group, you’ll work specifically with criminal defense Attorney Scott Stewart who knows the legal world inside and out, from all perspectives – including a prosecutor’s.
We may also be able to prove that the officer who arrests the defendant didn’t properly convey what’s referred to as “Miranda rights” – that is, the right to remain silent, where whatever the defendant says may be used against him or her in court. If the defendant makes a statement without knowing his or her rights, this statement can be nullified.
If you’ve been accused of a violation of IAH in Arizona, there are options. At the Stewart Law Group, we understand each case is unique and deserves an individualized approach. We’re behind you each step of the way to help you reach the verdict you deserve and move on with your life.