What is a Civil Protection Order in Ohio?

A Civil Protection Order, often called a “CPO,” is a restraining order in Ohio. If the CPO arises from a situation involving a family or household member, it will be called a Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order, which is heard in the Domestic Relations Court. If the CPO arises from a circumstance involving menacing by stalking behavior by one party to another, it will be called a Menacing by Stalking Civil Protection Order.

Ohio Civil Protection Order Hearing Terminology

In a civil protection order hearing, the terminology is different than during other civil matters and criminal cases. Most people are familiar with the terms “plaintiff” and “defendant.” In the civil protection order context, the “plaintiff” is referred to as the “petitioner.” This person is the complainant, or the person seeking the protection order.

The “defendant” is called the “respondent,” and this is the person whom the protection order was filed against. The “protection order” is commonly referred to as a “restraining order,” which prevents a person from doing certain acts.

Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order in Ohio

A Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order prevents a person from contacting, by phone, email, text or use of a third person, his or her family or household member. A Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order will also prevent a person from entering his or her shared residence. For further information on Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order’s, click here.

Ohio Civil Stalking Civil Protection Order’s

This type of CPO often occurs between co-workers and neighbors, but it can occur in the domestic relations context (ex. between a parent the other parent’s significant other). These cases are typically heard first on an ex parte basis (i.e., without the alleged wrongdoer being present) and then set for a full, contested trial. These cases are heard before a Magistrate or Judge in the general division of the common pleas court. For further information on Menacing by Stalking Civil Protection Order’s, click here.

This type of civil protection order can also involve unwanted sexual contact in addition to stalking.

What Must Be Proven for a Civil Protection Order?

The person seeking the civil protection order must prove either that the other party has engaged in domestic violence against a family or household member in violation of R.C. 2919.25, that the other party has engaged in menacing by stalking in violation of R.C. 2903.211, or has committed a sexually oriented offense against the person to be protected by the protection order.

While the court may enter temporary orders if the court finds that an immediate and present danger of domestic violence exists, the court cannot issue a more permanent order without a full hearing within seven (7) or ten (10) days, depending upon the order being sought.

The Ohio Civil Protection Order Hearing Process

Pursuant to R.C. 2919.26, a petitioner may file a petition for a temporary protection order upon a showing of domestic violence or stalking. The protection order may be made final upon a full hearing.

If the court issues a temporary protection order, it will do so “ex parte,” which means only in the presence of the petitioner. The respondent will not be present during this initial hearing. However, after this ex parte hearing, the court will schedule a full hearing on the civil protection order.

Before the full hearing, the respondent will be served with notice of the hearing. The timeframe during which the respondent will be served and the full hearing is usually only a matter of days. It is imperative that you speak with an attorney immediately to prepare for the hearing or to have the hearing rescheduled. Failing to address the temporary order quickly and appropriately will result in the order being made final, which will have significant and lasting consequences for you.

I Was Just Served With a Civil Protection Order in Ohio. What Should I Do?

Even though a CPO without a full hearing is only temporary, it must be followed. Violating a CPO, even a temporary CPO, is a crime. Therefore, you should not have any contact with the person that filed for the CPO. This includes attempting contact with the person by use of a third party.

While a CPO may be granted initially, it does not mean that the CPO will be granted at the full hearing. This is when you should consult with an attorney. An experienced civil protection order attorney can be extremely helpful in having the CPO dismissed based on a defense, or working out an agreement, such as filing for divorce, seeking restraining orders, or establishing a temporary shared parenting plan to bridge the gap between the CPO and the divorce filing.

If a CPO is granted at the full hearing, it will cause you serious problems. Civil protection order’s can be abused by those seeking an advantage in a later divorce or child custody proceeding. The granting of a CPO will afford the petitioner a significant advantage during divorce or child custody proceedings, and will complicate your employment and ability to own a firearm

Civil Protection Order Consequences in Ohio

If a civil protection order is granted after the full hearing, it can lead to both civil and criminal consequences. Violating a protection order can result in a first degree misdemeanor, fifth degree felony or third degree felony based on the number of prior violation of a protection order convictions. Moreover, the court could hold the person who violates the protection order in contempt of court.

Additionally, the civil protection order will be effective in all counties in Ohio and all 50 states. The protection order can remain in effect for years, and will have the terms imposed unless modified or revoked.

The civil protection order, in addition to the consequences outlined above, will impact your employment, admissions to schools, applications for housing, financial aid and any avenue that requires a background check because the civil protection order is a public document.

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Civil Protection Order Attorney

If you are filing for or defending against a civil protection order in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio civil protection order attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in preparing for your trial on the civil protection order. Call Johnson Legal, LLC at (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your civil protection order.