Columbus Civil Protection and Domestic Violence Protection Orders
If you are a victim of abuse, you may seek protection from your abuser. In Ohio, you may request a protection order against your assailant, and depending on the circumstances of your case, the court may grant you a protection order.
Understanding the intricacies of civil protection, including the application process and if an order has been filed against you, can be difficult on your own. Getting a Columbus protection order lawyer can smooth the process or help you understand the penalties you may face if you violate an order.
What Are Protection Orders and Who Issues Them?
In Ohio, although you are not required to have a lawyer to apply for a domestic or dating violence civil protection order, having one will help. You will need to get the forms from your local domestic relations court, fill them out, and return them to that office. There will be an ex parte hearing where the person you are filing the order against will not be present; typically, it is just you, any legal counsel, and the judge overseeing your case.
A protection order is an official document issued by a judge preventing an abuser or assailant from committing specific actions against a spouse, partner, or alleged victim. The order is requested by the victim and may be granted against a former spouse, current spouse, parent of a shared child, current or former dating partner, or someone who lives or used to live in the same household.
There are restrictions to what the restrained person may do once granted. Some orders dictate how far an abuser must stay from their victim, while others can remove them from their residence.
In some cases, victims who are not family members or do not live in the home can also request protection orders, depending on the circumstances.
Domestic Violence or a Dating Violence Civil Protection Order
A domestic violence civil protection order (CPO) is issued by the court when there are allegations of domestic violence between family or household members. A dating violence civil protection order is filed when the allegation of threats or violence from an individual you are were recently dating. A CPO can be valid for up to five years. The evidence needed for a court to issue a CPO is less than what is necessary to prove criminal domestic violence charges.
If a civil protection order is granted, the order could require the restrained person follow some restrictions, including but not limited to:
- Removal from their home
- Restriction or loss of physical custody of shared children
- Providing financial support for the household if required by law before the order was issued
- Seeing a counselor
- Staying 500 feet from you or anyone in your household
- Restriction from entering your home, school, business, or place of employment
- Banning contact with you, including telephone or social media
Civil Stalking & Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order
A civil stalking protection order does not require a specific type of relationship with the abuser. This type of protection order is meant to protect victims when the abuser has knowingly engaged in a pattern of conduct that makes you believe that the abuser will physically hurt you or causes you mental distress.
A sexually oriented offense protection order is meant to protect victims of sexually oriented offenses. Examples of sexually oriented offenses include rape, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, statutory rape, or when the offender committed or attempted to commit a felony with sexual motivation.
If a civil protection order is granted, the order could make the retrained person follow some restrictions, including but not limited to:
- Staying 500 feet from the protected person
- Prohibit contact with the protected person
- Prohibit the retrained person from interfering with the protected person at their place of employment or school they attend
- Prohibit the retrained person from removing, damaging or disposing of any property owned by the protected person
Criminal Protection Orders
A criminal protection order may be issued at any point in a criminal case by the court. These are typically issued during the defendant’s arraignment and apply when the judge overseeing the case believes the victim could be in danger.
How to Apply for a CPO or TPO
Each type of protection order has a similar but unique application process. The Court will require evidence to support the issuance of a protection order. The Court will likely schedule an ex parte hearing the same day you file your petition.
During the ex parte hearing, the judge will review your request and may ask questions. They might grant an emergency order, meaning your protection starts once the restrained party is served with notice of the ex parte protection order. This order is different from a CPO because it lasts the length of your case or defined time period, and the court typically has not heard evidence presented by the restrained party. You will be required to attend a full hearing where the alleged abuser in attendance to present their case in response to the allegations made. Having a protection order lawyer with you can make it easier to gather and present evidence of a threat of imminent violence or defend against the issuance of an order. The accused will have their chance to present evidence against the need for an order.
The judge may grant the order at the end of the hearing. Carry a copy with you at all times so that you have it available, should you request assistance from law enforcement. You can also give copies to your employer, other law enforcement agencies, or your child’s school.
Risks Involved with Protection Orders
The need for a protection order often arises when someone is physically threatening someone else, applying for one could increase their danger, especially if the order is denied.
If you discuss your case with anyone who is not your attorney, you should be mindful of the risks involved, especially if:
- Your abuser is dangerous or violent: some people can react poorly when informed they are facing a protection order. If they have been violent in the past, knowing that you intend to request a protection order might trigger them.
- There are children involved: even if a protection order is in your best interest, there is a possibility of involvement with children services. Some advocates involved in the court process are mandatory reporters who will call children’s services if they learn a child could be in danger.
- If you have children with the restrained party, the children may not be protected parties in the civil protection order.
- There is an active legal case: seeking a protective order is complicated by undecided legal matters and could make the defendant react wildly.
There are inherent risks involved when any protective order is involved in your case. Speaking with a knowledgeable family law attorney can help you weigh the benefits against the risks.
Penalties for Violating Protection Orders
If a protection order is granted against you, it is important that you understand what is and is not permitted as result of the order. There are legal consequences when a protection order is violated. Ohio Revised Code Section 2919.27 outlines the penalties for violating CPOs and TPOs. Specifically, the statute states that no person may recklessly violate the terms of a restraining order. If the restrained person accidentally violates the restraining order — if the two of you bump into each other at the store, for example — it is possible that restrained person may not face serious consequences.
However, the restrained person could face severe repercussions if they intentionally violate either the CPO or TPO brought against them, there are multiples violations, or if they act in a way they know could violate those orders.
If convicted, they could face the following penalties:
- First conviction—First-degree misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail and/or a $1000 fine
- Second and subsequent convictions—Fifth-degree felony, involving a potential prison sentence of one year, along with a possible $2,500 fine
What Other Issues Could You Face for Violating a Protection Order?
If you violate a protection order, you may face issues that are not necessarily defined by law. These include:
- Trouble maintaining employment
- Licensure issues in some professions
- Difficulty and possible denial in immigration and naturalization proceedings
A violation conviction will appear on criminal background checks for the rest of the defendant’s life.
Contact a Columbus Domestic and Protection Order Lawyer Today
Whether the defendant has been charged with felonious violent crimes and you want to ensure your protection, or if you are trying to protect yourself and your children from an abuser, navigating the laws surrounding protection orders of all types requires knowledge and experience.
The Arenstein & Andersen, Co., LPA team knows the ORC and Franklin County criminal and family law. Their attorneys will be able to help you through the necessary steps to acquire the proof you need for a protection order, help you file it, and argue your case.