Frequently Asked Questions About Civil Protection Orders Columbus, Ohio
If a civil protection order has been taken against you, contact the Law Office of Dmitriy Borshchak for legal representation. In case you need to file a CPO against someone, it’s equally important to consult a CPO attorney to help you navigate the unfamiliar court process. Here’s everything you need to know about Civil Protection Orders Columbus Ohio.
What is a Civil Protection Order?
A CPO applies to individuals within an interfamilial relationship, such as immediate family, domestic partners, and intimate parties. In Columbus, Ohio, it’s a readily-enforceable court order that requires a person whose conduct is threatening or abusive toward you to stop contacting you. Such an order is intended to protect domestic violence victims and help them hold their abusers accountable for their gross actions. Whenever a household member experiences physical abuse, stalking behavior, or threats of harm, they must provide evidence to the court that they are in immediate or present danger.
Under Ohio law, domestic violence victims (petitioners) must fill out forms and a sworn statement recounting the alleged acts of violence. They need to appear in court for the forms to be reviewed by a magistrate, who decides whether to grant an ex parte order. An ex parte means the abuser (respondent) is not present in court for the hearing, and if granted, the domestic abuse victim gets a temporary protection order.
The judge can set the next hearing within 7 to 14 court days, at which the respondent can be present to issue a statement or dispute the evidence against them. Note that there’s a difference between a civil protection order and a criminal protection order. A magistrate can issue a final civil protection order after an ex parte or when the petitioner and respondent present evidence and testimony in court. Final CPOs also apply if the abuser agrees to the issued protection.
A criminal protection order is issued when the court determines the abuser poses a threat or danger to the domestic abuse victim. In this case, a judge orders the respondent to have zero contact with the victim or even go near their residence, place of work, school, etc. If you’re both a defendant with a domestic violence (DV) charge and a respondent in a CPO case, the process of fighting both charges is different, and you need legal representation.
In case the involved parties are not in a domestic relationship and are perhaps strangers or neighbors, petitioners can file for a Restraining Order. Also known as a protective order, a restraining order is issued by a judge to prevent further instances of continued or threatened acts of violence toward a “protected person.”
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There's a Civil Protection Order Taken Against Me: What Should I Do?
Courts have the authority to issue protection orders, also known as no-contact or restraining orders, when an individual alleges imminent harm. If you were served with a CPO in connection with domestic violence or conflict in the family or intimate relationships, the petitioner likely filed the petition in civil court asking for the order.
Restraining orders, whether permanent or temporary, should not be taken lightly. Moreover, courts do not appoint a legal representative for restraining order hearings. So, the first thing to do when served with a civil protection order Columbus Ohio due to physical abuse, sexual assault, threats, harassment, or stalking, is to contact a lawyer.
If the court has not granted a CPO against you (yet), file an opposition to the motion asking the court to modify, terminate, or cancel the order. Where the protection order was improperly granted or is no longer needed, your lawyer can help you file a motion to modify (change) the protection order.
Typically, a motion to modify or terminate a domestic violence order for protection is filed when the defendant (abuser) believes the CPO is too burdensome. The defendant is basically asking a judge to shorten the CPO order or get rid of some parts that order them not to harass, threaten, or commit further acts of domestic violence.
If you’re served with a civil protection order, it’s important to act fast. As mentioned above, you have between 7 and 14 days to file a response and prepare for a court hearing. Having an aggressive lawyer to help with preparing for and defending against a restraining order is key. You require help understanding the entire CPO, including any allegations and evidence against you, to ensure you don’t violate it.
A restraining order violation makes fighting against a permanent order much harder. It’s worth mentioning you’re not entitled to a court-appointed attorney or public defender; plus, your case will be heard in a civil court, not a criminal court. So, exercise your rights to have a lawyer present when receiving notice of the hearing and presenting evidence.
Consider hiring an attorney specializing in family or divorce law. They’ve handled their fair share of restraining orders and can enable you to organize evidence that may prove useful to discredit the petitioner’s allegations.
Can I Negotiate an Agreement to Settle With a Petitioner Out of Court?
In the state of Ohio, a civil protection court injunction is used to prevent an alleged abuser from contacting, visiting, or coming near a protected party. But what takes place if involved parties want to reconcile and find that the terms of a restraining order are too harsh? What happens during a civil protection order case in Columbus, Ohio?
When a domestic violence victim files for a CPO, a magistrate schedules an ex parte hearing with the petitioner alone. The respondent receives the order if the victim successfully convinces the court to issue a CPO. Then the alleged abuser is notified of a full hearing, and, to fight the CPO, the defendant must show up and prove their innocence. Often, a respondent’s attorney can contact the petitioner or the petitioner’s attorney to negotiate an agreement to settle out of court before the full CPO hearing occurs.
During this time, the involved parties get a chance to reach an agreement before the court schedules a response hearing. Should the respondent and petitioner reach an amicable agreement, the presiding judge signs what’s known as a Consent Decree document detailing the terms. Both parties agree to adhere to the terms of the Consent Decree, which officially brings the CPO case to an end. Conversely, if the respondent does not agree to the CPO, the protection order will most likely remain in effect for five years.
Will a Civil Protection Order Show Up on My Records?
Any case filed in court is a matter of public record and can be accessed by anyone in person. In addition, a protection order is a serious civil matter, and you could face the possibility of incarceration if you violate a CPO that has been taken against you. Criminal records can appear on different databases, and a potential employer conducting background checks may view a protection order as a major red flag. If your civil protection order is connected to acts of domestic violence, it can make it challenging to secure financing or housing.
A CPO record is potentially life-altering, especially if a respondent is charged multiple times for the same civil crime that resulted in the CPO. Such charges look bad on your record, and worse, they may not be expugnable. Yet, if the petitioner and respondent agree to a Consent Decree, the magistrate will not make factual findings. So, even if the CPO shows up on a background check, any potential employer will see the court cleared the respondent of any wrongdoing.
Hire a Civil Protection Order Lawyer from the Law Office of Dmitriy Borshchak
Even if you inadvertently violate a CPO, the petitioner can file a motion alleging contempt of court. This can worsen your case. Where it was originally civil, a contempt of court prosecution turns it into a criminal matter. Moreover, CPO violations can carry a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. If a second CPO violation or subsequent conviction involves physical violence, you could pay a $2,000 fine and face 1 to 5 years imprisonment.
Accordingly, whether you’re responding to a CPO or filing for one, it’s critically significant to have competent legal representation from the Law Office of Dmitriy Borshchak to help you navigate the system. Our seasoned civil protection order lawyers have vast experience prosecuting and defending various CPO cases in the criminal and civil legal arenas. We employ invaluable resources to investigate your case and fight vigorously for the right result. Contact us today.