It is a serious matter when victims feel they need to use a protection order or a restraining order. You could be facing severe consequences if you’re accused of violating either of those orders. Ohio law enforcement agencies are required to enforce legally valid restraining orders issued by any jurisdiction, state or federal, and they will usually arrest violators on the spot.
If any protection or restraining order has been issued against you, you should educate yourself about the consequences of violating any of the order’s terms.
Do not take charges lightly for violating a protection order or a restraining order in Columbus. Instead, contact Luftman, Heck & Associates right away. Our domestic violence and assault defense attorneys will get you released, explain your options, walk you through the process, and protect you from the harsh penalties of a conviction.
Call (614) 304-3398 24/7 to speak with a skilled domestic violence attorney. Initial consultations are free, always confidential, and we have a record of protecting people.
What Are Protection Orders?
In Ohio, a domestic violence victim or a victim of a violent crime may request some type of protection order against their alleged assailant, which may be granted depending on their circumstances. There are limits to who can request these orders, and there can be restrictions on the orders.
Who Issues Them?
Protection orders can be requested by victims of abuse, or any victims involved in cases where criminal assault charges have been filed. That person could be a current or former spouse, the other parent of a shared child, a current or former dating partner, or someone who lives or used to live in the same house.
In some cases, victims who are not family members or do not live in the home can also request some kinds of protection orders, especially if their alleged assailant has been charged with felonious assault; aggravated assault; assault; aggravated menacing; menacing by stalking; menacing; or aggravated trespass.
Civil Protection Order
A civil protection order (CPO) is issued by the domestic relations court when there are allegations of domestic violence between family or household members. A CPO can be valid for up to five years. The amount of evidence needed for a court to issue a CPO is less than the amount of evidence necessary to prove criminal domestic violence charges. If the victim shows that abuse occurred based on a “preponderance of the evidence,” the court must issue a CPO.
If you’re subject to a protection order, the court may require you to:
- Leave your home and turn it over to someone else in your family or household
- Give up physical custody of your children
- Continue providing financial support to those you lived with — if previously required to by law
- See a counselor
- Stay 500 feet away from the alleged victim
- Cannot enter the alleged victim’s home, school, business, or place of employment
- Not contact the alleged victim in any way, including by telephone or through social media
Temporary Protection Order
A temporary protection order (TPO) is issued during a criminal case and will usually last until the case is settled or dismissed. A judge can issue a Domestic Violence TPO or a Criminal Protection TPO, depending on the relationship between the parties involved and the charges filed. A TPO usually gets issued at the request of a prosecutor or law enforcement officer working on a criminal case. For example, a TPO may be issued against the suspect during a rape case.
However, a prosecutor must prove abuse occurred “beyond a reasonable doubt” to justify domestic violence charges. Any approved TPO would restrict the abuser’s ability to contact or approach the victim.
Criminal Protection Orders
Only the alleged victim may request a criminal protection order at any point in a criminal case. They are typically issued during the defendant’s arraignment and usually apply when the judge overseeing the case believes the victims could be in danger.
The Penalties for Violating Temporary or Civil Protection Orders
The penalties for violating CPOs and TPOs are outlined in section 2919.27 of the Ohio Code. Specifically, the statute states that no person may recklessly violate the terms of a restraining order. If you accidentally violate the restraining order—if you and your former partner bump into each other at a store, for example—you probably won’t be charged with violating the restraining order.
But if you intentionally violate the terms of your CPO or TPO, or if you do something that you know would likely result in you violating the restraining order, you may face criminal charges. If convicted, you will face the following penalties:
- First conviction—First-degree misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail and/or a $1000 fine
- Second and subsequent convictions—Fifth-degree felony, involving a potential prison sentence of one year, along with a possible $2,500 fine
If you commit a felony while violating the restraining order, you may face third-degree felony charges resulting in jail time of 9 months to 5 years and fines reaching $10,000. In some cases, you may be ordered to wear a GPS device that allows the authorities to track your movements upon your release from jail.
What Other Issues Could You Face for Violating a Protection Order in Columbus?
If you violate a protection order, you may face issues that aren’t necessarily defined by law. These include:
- Trouble maintaining your current employment
- Licensure issues in some professions
- Difficulty getting a good job in the future
- Difficulty and possible denial in immigration and naturalization proceedings
A conviction for violating a protection order will also be on your criminal background for the rest of your life. Therefore, no matter what happens in your assault or domestic violence case, it is critical to give violating protection order charges the importance it deserves.
How a Columbus Defense Attorney Can Help You
Our team of Columbus criminal defense attorneys takes a two-pronged approach to all violation of protection order cases.
We’ll Help You Obtain a Bond
First and foremost, you need a bond. Generally, you will be arrested when charged with violating a protection order. If not, the charge(s) will be filed as a warrant, and you will have to turn yourself in. We will represent you at your initial bond hearing and look to secure a favorable bond and your release from jail.
We’ll Challenge the Charges Against You
From there, we will find the mistakes the police made, determine if the prosecuting witness is fabricating the charges, limit the evidence against you, and raise every possible legal issue on your behalf.
We do this by requesting discovery from the prosecutor and interviewing witnesses. The discovery will generally consist of police reports, additional investigative notes, pictures, and recorded interviews. As our client, you will receive a copy of everything received from the prosecutor for your review.
Based on the weaknesses in the State of Ohio’s case and any other mitigating factors, we will negotiate the best possible plea available with the prosecutor for you to consider in resolving your case.
Suppose your case cannot be resolved favorably with a plea. In that case, it will proceed to a motion hearing (a hearing where the judge issues a ruling on an evidentiary issue) or a trial to the judge or jury, depending on the circumstances.
LHA has successfully represented clients on violating protection order charges for over ten years. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.
Speak With A Columbus Domestic Violence Attorney Today
It’s possible to avoid the harshest penalties for violating a restraining order if you retain the services of a seasoned legal professional to defend against the prosecutor’s charges. Ideally, you should consult with a lawyer when you learn that you are subject to a CPO or TPO.
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we have extensive experience advising and defending clients embroiled in domestic violence disputes. Call us right away at (614) 304-3398 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.