Civil Protection Orders in the District of Columbia


DC CPO Attorney What is a Civil Protection Order (CPO)? 

A civil protection order is a civil order that protects the Petitioner from abuse by a current or former spouse, domestic partner, intimate/dating partner, relative (by blood or marriage/domestic partnership), housemate, someone with whom you have a child in common, or someone who is/was in a relationship with someone who you are/were in a relationship with. (Note: It also protects victims of stalking, sexual assault, or sexual abuse who do NOT have the type of relationship described above.)

I was served with a Civil Protection Order.  What should I expect?

If you are served with a DC CPO, you will be required to appear in court typically at 8:30 A.M.  At that time, you will check in with the courtroom clerk.  An attorney mediator will then call you to determine the status of your case.  In a CPO case, both parties could reach an out of court settlement and thereby avoiding a full-blown evidentiary trial.  Alternatively, you can consent to a court order with specific conditions with or without admissions.  

What happens if I ask for a trial?

At trial, the Petitioner will present evidence to show that an intra-family offense had occurred and that you were the offender.  You are also entitled to present witnesses much like any typical trial.  However, the standard of proof in a CPO case is much lower than that of a criminal matter. In other words, is it more likely than not that you committed the acts as alleged by the Petitioner?  However, in a criminal case, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed.  
If the Judge finds in favor of the Petitioner, a CPO will be issued against you.  In addition to a typical stay away order, the judge may impose other conditions, such as anger management, drug/alcohol counseling, monetary awards, temporary child support/custody, etc. 

Will the CPO show up on my background check?

A CPO is a CIVIL matter.  Therefore, a non-criminal Civil Protection Order will not show up in a cursory background check.  However, if your potential employer is conducting checks in civil cases, such as civil judgments (e.g. defaulting on bills), it will show up on such a check.  

If you have been served with a CPO in the District of Columbia, please call our office for a free case evaluation.  (202) 455-5610. 

Rollins and Chan Law Firm