Welcome back to our feature on new laws from the 2019 Utah Legislative Session. There were a lot of changes in family law in 2019, and one amendment was made by Senate Bill 75, which modified provisions relating to dismissal and expiration of a domestic violence protective order.
It used to be that a protective order that had been in effect for at least two years could be dismissed if the court determined the petitioner no longer has a reasonable fear of future harm or abuse. Now that list includes a reasonable fear of future harm, abuse, or domestic violence.
It used to be that a protective order couldn’t be dismissed after two years at the respondent had been convicted of a protective order violation, but now the law has been amended to provide that the order can’t be dismissed if the respondent was convicted of a protective order violation, now the protective order can’t be dismissed if the respondent merely “committed” a protective order violation. In other words, it used to be that a protective order could be dismissed if you committed a protective order violation but didn’t get convicted of it. Now, if it can be proven that you did commit the violation, regardless of whether you were convicted, the protective order stays in place.
Do you suppose that when a respondent moves for a dismissal of his or her protective order, that the petitioner might be tempted to accuse the respondent of having “committed” a protective order violation, even if there’s no record of any conviction? Or am I just being cynical?
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