Lifetime Injunctions for Crime Victims.Serious felony offenses in Arizona often result in an immediate arrest. Within hours of that arrest, the defendant is standing before a judge who orders him or her to have zero contact with the victim(s), which could ultimately result in a lifetime injunction. As an experienced criminal defense attorney, I have helped many clients modify those initial release orders when they were: overbroad; unduly restrictive; or based on an incomplete or inaccurate account of the events at issue.
After a criminal case is resolved (through either a plea agreement or trial), pretrial release conditions are vacated. In their place, probation terms are routinely imposed that, depending on the case, can ostensibly extend a victim no-contact order for years. Yet, the reality is that early termination of probation is commonplace. Some defendants simply go to prison without any probation terms. And once a defendant finishes his or her probation term or is released from prison, no-contact orders imposed by a sentencing judge end. A concerned victim is then left to independently seek an injunction in civil court. Arizona lawmakers, however, believe that crime victims should be entitled to injunctive relief beyond a defendant’s probation or prison term.
On September 24, 2022, a new Arizona statute, A.R.S. §#13-719, will take effect that gives sentencing judges the ability to impose a lifetime injunction against a defendant for serious, violent and dangerous felonies, as defined in the statute. Section §#13-719 was expressly made retroactive. As a result, not only will all future victims have the right to seek a lifetime injunction, but any defendant who has ever committed one of the delineated felony offenses can be summoned back to court and an lifetime injunction imposed years after he or she successfully completed probation or was released from prison.
Defendants who perpetrated their criminal acts on non-family members will have no legal or common sense grounds to contest a post-sentence lifetime injunction. Sadly, however, there are numerous domestic violence crimes that are committed on known victims. The impact these belated lifetime injunctions will have on those family relationships is unknown. A defendant with a known victim may be able to present both common sense and practical reasons why a belated injunction should not issue. But sadly, the statute itself contains no such mitigating language. If the crime is within the specified list, a lifetime injunction must be issued at the request of the victim or the prosecutor.
Our criminal attorneys have vast experience in defending and amending judicial no-contact orders. If you or a loved one desires to contest an onerous or belated lifetime injunction, please give us call at (480) 833-2341.
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