What is a Temporary Protective Order?

What is a Temporary Protective OrderA temporary protection order (TPO) is a “temporary” order issued by a Judge that requires you to stay away from another individual after an allegation of an intrafamily offense.   You the respondent are not at the hearing in which a temporary protective order is granted.   You must be served with the Petition. Also referred to as a restraining order.  In order for the person to get a TPO against you the person seeking the TPO must be family member, roommate, someone with whom you had a dating relationship or a child in common, are or were married to, or if they previously dated your current or former boyfriend or girlfriend.  The person seeking the TPO must feel that there life is immediate danger and that you committed an intrafamily offense.  An intrafamily offense is act punishable as a criminal offense that is committed or threatened to be committed by an offender.

Can I get a Continuance If I am not ready at the Civil Protection Order Hearing?

It is up to the Judge whether to continue the hearing; however, if the hearing is continued the TPO will be extended until the next Court date.

What Happens After I am Served with the TPO?

On the Temporary Protective Order, there will be a scheduled hearing date.  You must appear on that hearing date where the Judge will make a decision of whether to grant a Civil Protection Order.  

What happens I do not show at the hearing

You  do not want to ignore the hearing.  The JUDGE WILL ISSUE A WARRANT and a default order will be entered.  

What happens at the hearing

There are number things that can happen at the hearing.  The following are possible outcomes:

(1) Have a hearing before a Judge in DC Superior Court.  If the Judge finds that an intrafamily offense has occurred as defined in the District of Columbia Code, you will have a court order requiring you to do certain things.

(2) The Petitioner may not show and the case could be dismissed for want of prosecution.

(3) A separate agreement (outside of court) can be reached with the Petitioner where the Petitioner agrees to dismiss the case with certain conditions met.

(4) No admissions consent to the Court Order.

Whats the best way to resolve the Case?

There are many ways to resolve a temporary protective order (TPO) (Read our blog on other ways to resolve a CPO case)

The Objective

The objective is to try and get the case dismissed.   Let’s face it you do not want to have an order of protection issued against you.  So how do you go about doing that?  The best way is to contact a lawyer who regularly does civil protection order cases.  You can not contact the person who filed the temporary protection order because you have a stay-away order in place.   Your lawyer, on the other hand, can contact the petitioner and try to work out an agreement.

Civil agreement?

One way to get the case dismissed is to work out a civil agreement.   A civil agreement is a legal agreement between the two parties that resolves the dispute.   This is also known as a settlement.

What Goes into the Civil Agreement?

Generally, your civil protection order lawyer will word the agreement that gives some protection to the petitioner with the objective of dismissing the temporary protective order.    The language in the agreement differs from case to case.

What’s the Difference between a Civil Agreement and a Civil Protection Order?

The difference between the civil agreement and a civil protection order is huge.  A civil protection order is a court order.   If you violate a civil protection order, the petitioner’s remedy is contempt of court.  Contempt of Court is quite serious and can result in jail time.  If you violate a civil agreement, the petitioner’s remedy is filing suit (suing you for breach).

Need more information

The consequences of a civil protection order can be significant.  You should talk to you a lawyer that regularly does civil protection order cases so that you understand everything that is going on in Court.  Our offices regularly handle civil protection cases in DC and Maryland.

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