A Civil Protection Order, or a CPO, is issued by a domestic relations court to protect a victim of domestic violence. It is intended to prevent further domestic violence. A CPO orders someone who has been abusive to do or not to do certain things in the future in the effort to prevent further abuse.
When the abused person (the Petitioner) files a petition with the court for a CPO against the alleged abuser (the Respondent) a case is set for a prompt court decision, an ex parte (emergency) hearing. An ex parte order is issued by the court after hearing from just the Petitioner’s side of the case. The court will grant this emergency order if there is sufficient evidence of immediate and present danger to the Petitioner, Petitioner’s family, or household member. If the court issues an emergency order, it will then schedule a full hearing, generally within 7-10 days to determine if a permanent order should be granted.
Ohio Revised Code 3113.31 (D)(2)(a) provides: If the court, after an ex parte hearing, issues an order….., the court shall schedule a full hearing for a date that is within seven court days after the ex parte hearing. If any other type of protection order that is authorized…. Is issued by the court after an ex parte hearing, the court shall schedule a full hearing for a date that is within ten court days after the ex parte hearing. The court shall give the respondent notice of, and an opportunity to be heard at, the full hearing….
Obtaining a CPO is a civil matter, not a criminal matter. The CPO does not provide physical police protection nor does it allow for the arrest of the Respondent during the hearing.
If there is a violation of the CPO by the Respondent, it can result in arrest and criminal prosecution. If the Petitioner believes the CPO has been violated, he or she should contact the local police, as a violation of the CPO may result in criminal charges.
Having a CPO adds additional protection for the Petitioner, who may have an imminent fear of bodily harm or death. Criminal charges against a Respondent can be pled down whereas a CPO can have a more lasting impact depending on the circumstances. It is important to contact an attorney to discuss the options related to filing a CPO.
False allegations resulting in a CPO can have devastating effects to the Respondent. A person who has been accused of domestic violence needs to know his or her rights. A CPO can last anywhere from one to five years. A CPO can exclude the Respondent from the residence, workplace or school of the Petitioner, or from the day care or school of a child. It can prevent the Respondent from coming within or remaining within a certain distance from a location, including the Respondent’s own house, if shared with the Petitioner. A CPO can also keep the Respondent away from any children he or she has with the Petitioner if the CPO claims violence toward the children.
What can the Respondent do? Once served with the ex parte notice, Respondent should immediately hire an attorney versed in this area of the law in order to present a defense to the CPO filing by Petitioner.
Hiring an attorney is imperative for both the Petitioner and the Respondent. If the CPO is made final, the parties will be required to obey what is listed in the order, which could have lasting consequences.