In the District of Columbia, a restraining order is generally called a Civil Protection Order (CPO) when we are talking about one between people who are related, have been in a romantic relationship living together, or, in some cases, are dating or married to a person who was in a romantic relationship with the other party at a prior time. It should be noted that in the District of Columbia, roommates often count as being in a domestic relationship for court purposes, even when there is absolutely no romance of any kind involved.
The DC Code uses the term “Civil” because it is not the same as a criminal charge. However, the violation of a CPO can result in criminal charges for violation of a restraining order or criminal contempt of court (CCC). Most CPOs in Washington, DC include a requirement that the respondent stay away from the petitioner, stay way from their home and place of business, and not contact them either directly or indirectly. Social media can be a real issue, and you should speak with an experienced Washington, DC Civil Protection Order lawyer about the facts of your particular case.
How can I file a Civil Protection Order (CPO) in DC?
If you were in a romantic relationship, living with, or related to someone who has committed a crime against you, including threatening to harm you or your children, you can go to the court and file a petition for a Civil Protection Order (CPO). If you claim that there is immediate need for the order, as their often is, you can request a hearing before a judge magistrate. This will be an ex-parte hearing where the other party is not present. You will likely be granted a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) that will last 14 days until your court date when there is a hearing. You must serve the other party, and this can be difficult, so it is better to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Do I need a lawyer for a Washington, DC Civil Protection Order (CPO) Case?
You are not required to hire a lawyer to file for a CPO in Washington, DC. However, you will have a much easier time throughout the entire process, and a have a better chance of success, if you have someone who knows how to navigate what can be a difficult situation. You will also have somebody to deal with your case, so you do not have to think about it all the time, and that is a major confort for many people.
I was just served with a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) or Civil Protection Order (CPO) in DC, now what?
If you are served with a TPO or CPO in Washington, DC, the first thing you should do is to contact a lawyer who can help you with the process. What you should absolutely not do is contact the person who has filed the petition for a Civil Protection Order or ask anyone else to contact them on your behalf, because that could cause you to get arrested, which is the last thing you want. The fact that someone served you with a CPO or TPO does not mean they will be at court.
If you need assistance with a protective order (CPO) in Washington, DC, please feel free to contact the Law Offices of Daniel A. Gross, PLLC.