What happens if you fail to appear for a Civil Protection Order Hearing in DC?

Mark RollinsCivil Protection Orders, Failure to Appear

What happens if you fail to appear for a civil protection order hearing in DC. First and foremost you have to be served with a notice to come to court. You have to be on notice that you actually had a hearing scheduled.

What happens if you fail to appear for a civil protection order hearing

What does Service Mean

The DC Superior Court rules of the Court state:

shall be made upon an individual, other than an infant or an incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the petition personally to the individual, or to the individual’s dwelling house or usual place of abode. Delivery of a copy within the context of this rule means handing it to the individual, or leaving it at the individual’s dwelling house or usual place of abode with a person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein. Service upon an infant or incompetent person shall be made by serving the petition and notice of hearing and order directing appearance in the manner prescribed by the law of the District of Columbia or the law of the state in which service is made. ”

Notably, the party can also ask the Judge for alternative service if they believe you are avoiding service of process. However, the party seeking alternative service must request by Court order to do try to do alternative service. If the Court allows alternative service:

“Alternative service may be accomplished by: (A) delivering a copy to the individual’s employer by leaving it at the individual’s place of employment with a clerk or other person in charge; (B) mailing a copy of the petition and notice of hearing and order directing appearance to respondent by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested; or (C) such other manner as the Court, in its discretion, may deem just and reasonable. Service by mail shall be deemed made as of the date the return receipt is signed.”

So If you have been properly served and you fail to appear what will happen?

The rules say the Court may issue a warrant. However, in this writer’s experience must Judges in DC Superior Court issue a bench warrant. That warrant is usually only valid in the District of Columbia. Furthermore, there will be a default Judgment issued against you. So, this is not like a regular civil case where you get a money judgment. The United States Marshalls Service (because DC is Federal) can come to your house and arrest you and bring you before the Court.

What should you do if you have a warrant issued?

You really should contact an attorney and if you cannot afford an attorney you should go to the Courthouse and go to room C-301 (failure to appear) unit. You will then go before the Judge and the order will be served on you. Thereafter, the Court

“shall hold a hearing no later than the next available court day. If a temporary protection order or civil protection order has previously been issued by the Court but not served upon the party, the party shall be served with a copy of the order in open court. The Court shall notify the respondent, in writing, of any subsequent hearing date and shall require the respondent to sign a notice to return to court “

Have more Questions

Pick up the phone and give us a call. Its not the end of the world and you will get through this. Rollins and Chan Law Firm