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I just got served with a Civil Protection Order in Washington,DC – Now What?

If you have been served with a Civil Protection Order in Washington, DC, there are several things you need to do, and there are several things you should absolutely not do.  The first thing is to find out if there is a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) in place. This should be evident from the paperwork with which you were served. 

If you were served with a TPO, that means the order is in effect currently, and you could be arrested and charged with violation of a civil protection order or criminal contempt of court (CCC) if you violate the terms of that temporary protection order.  The terms of the TPO are likely that you must stay away from the petitioner (person who got the TPO/CPO) and not contact that person.

As our DC CPO lawyers can explain, the petitioner was able to get a TPO because he or she went to the fourth floor of the DC Superior Court to the Domestic Violence Intake Center and made an allegation that you violated the law by making threats, stalking, harassing, or even committing assault.  He or she then claimed that you posed an immediate threat and asked to see a judge right away.  At this hearing, likely before a magistrate judge, you are not present.  It is only the petitioner and the judge. 

At this hearing, the judge will ask what you allegedly did and decide if he or she believes you pose an immediate threat.  If the judge believes that, if the statements are true, you would pose an immediate threat, the judge will issue an order good for two weeks until you have a CPO hearing. 

Just because the judge issues a TPO does not mean he or she will issue a CPO.  However, getting back to what you should and should not do, you absolutely should not contact the petitioner in any way or ask that anyone else do this on your behalf.  If you do, you could end up in jail, or at the very least, your violation of the Temporary Protection Order could be used against you at the CPO trail. 

What you should do is to contact an experienced Washington, DC protective order defense lawyer as soon as possible to start working on your defense.  Again, just because the judge issued a TPO does not mean he or she will issue a CPO. 

If a CPO is issued, it is not a criminal offense, but violating it is a criminal offense.  You will have several options to discuss with your attorney, and there is often a lot that can be done to get the petition against you denied or dismissed, but you should not waste any time, and you should not speak with anyone other than your lawyer about this matter.

While every case is different, as the facts are never the same, you may be able to file a cross CPO against the petitioner, but that is something you should discuss with your attorney during the initial consultation.

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



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