The state of Ohio issues restraining orders, otherwise known as protection orders, for a variety of reasons. Most are handed out in conjunction with domestic violence cases, but crimes like stalking also lead to a significant number of filings. The orders generally prevent the respondent from contacting or meeting with the individual who filed the petition.
When you are served with a restraining order in Montgomery County, it is easy to feel like the world is conspiring against you. It may seem that you have no way of fighting back, but this is not the case. It is possible to defend yourself against the order and restore your good name with the help of an experienced attorney.
The knowledgeable lawyers at Suhre & Associates have been helping the people of Dayton, Ohio, and the greater Montgomery County area fight back against their restraining orders for years. When you need our legal advice and guidance, we will be there for you too. All you need to do is give our law firm a call at (937) 531-0435 to set up a free initial consultation.
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Types of Restraining Orders Issued by the State of Ohio
The state of Ohio hands out two main forms of restraining orders. Orders vary depending on the specific circumstances that surround the alleged offense.
Temporary Protection Order
Temporary Protection Orders (TPOs) are generally filed by law enforcement officials when they begin investigating a criminal domestic violence case or other sexually-oriented offense. The order generally forbids the accused from contacting the victim and their family. They usually state that the respondent may not visit the victim’s home, business, school, or place of employment.
Because TPOs are directly tied to a specific case, they generally expire as soon as a full hearing has been held or the case has been dismissed. In most instances, this means that the order will only remain in effect for a few months.
The fact that the order is temporary does not make it any less legally enforceable. Individuals who violate their Montgomery County TPO may be punished by up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine for a first offense. For all further offenses, the penalties max out at one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
Civil Protection Order
Civil Protection Orders (CPO) are not tied to one specific criminal case. Instead, they are obtained through a petition by the victim. Victims of domestic violence and other sexually-oriented crimes may file a petition for a CPO with the domestic relations court. For the CPO petition to be successful, the filer must show that the respondent is:
- A family member
- A current or former spouse
- A current or former sexual partner
- An individual who lives in their home or has lived there in the past
Once issued, CPOs remain valid for much longer than TPOs. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the order, they can last for as long as five years.
Like TPOs, CPOs generally prevent the respondent from having any access to the victim and their family. CPOs can also order the abuser to pay support to the victim or attend counseling sessions. If the filer and respondent are currently co-parenting, the CPO may even award temporary child custody to the victim.
The penalties for violating a CPO are the same as those for a TPO.
How Your Restraining Order Can Impact Your Child Custody Situation
As mentioned, the filing of a Civil Protection Order against you has the potential to reduce your access to your child or eliminate it entirely. Ultimately, the decision is left to the discretion of the judge who is presiding over your case.
In determining how your restraining order should impact custody of your child, the judge will try to keep the best interests of your child at heart. If your child would be best served by continuing to spend time with you while the protection order is in effect, your access may be preserved. If the judge determines that you may be a danger to your child, they may stop you from having any access to them.
Given the enormity of the decision, you would be wise to have an experienced attorney by your side as you make your case to the judge. They will be able to provide you with the advice and guidance you need to maintain some level of custody of your child while the restraining order is in place.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help You Fight Back Against Your Restraining Order
If a Temporary Protection Order or Civil Protection Order has been filed against you, it is in your best interest to hire a skilled and knowledgeable Montgomery County criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. They can help you prove your innocence in an effort to have the order invalidated. To accomplish this goal, your lawyer is likely to:
Gather Physical Evidence
Clothing, videos, photographs, and household objects can all help your attorney prove your innocence. If, for instance, your spouse alleges that you violently attacked them and gave them a black eye on August 13th, but you have a picture of the two of you together on August 15th in which they have no visible injuries, your lawyer may be able to argue that the alleged altercation never took place and move to have the protection order invalidated.
Assemble Relevant Documents and Records
Emails, web searches, and phone GPS data can go a long way toward proving your innocence. If your phone records show that you were in your office downtown sending an email to one of your clients at the same time that your partner alleges that you were at home assaulting them, your lawyer will have no trouble proving that their claims are false. Once the domestic violence claim has been proven untrue, the restraining order is likely to be invalidated.
Speak to Witnesses on Your Behalf
Witnesses can give your attorney and the criminal court a much clearer picture of the relationship between you and your accuser. Witnesses can also verify your whereabouts at the time of the alleged crime. Some witnesses will be able to speak to your kind and gentle nature while others may be able to provide you with an alibi for the night in question. If their stories add up, your lawyer will be able to present the statements to the judge and have the restraining order invalidated.
What Not To Do If You’ve Been Served With a Restraining Order
Dealing with a Temporary Protection Order or Civil Protection Order can be a frustrating experience – especially when you know you have done nothing wrong. However, if you wish to give your attorney the best possible chance to resolve your legal issue, it is vital that you avoid making any disastrous mistakes. While the restraining order is in effect, you should not:
Try to Speak to the Petitioner, Their Family, or Any Witnesses
Under no circumstances should you make any attempt to speak to anyone protected by the order. Speaking with the petitioner or their family is almost certainly a violation of the terms of your restraining order. Contacting witnesses may be seen as an attempt to sway their testimony by the judge. While the order remains in place, your lawyer should do all of the speaking on your behalf.
Destroy or Tamper with Any Evidence
While searching for proof that would clear your name, you may come across some evidence that could prove detrimental to your case. No matter how tempting it may be, you should not dispose of this evidence or alter it in any way. Instead, you should present it to your attorney, who will deal with it in the appropriate manner.
Violate the Terms of the Protection Order in Any Way
Although avoiding contact with the victim is a huge part of any restraining order, there are usually other terms that you will need to adhere to as well. For instance, you may be required to stay away from the petitioner’s office building or your child’s school. Whatever the conditions may be, it is vital that you follow them to the letter for as long as the protection order remains in place.
Fight Back Against Your Restraining Order with Suhre & Associates
The skilled and experienced attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC are proud to serve clients from every corner of Montgomery County. Whether you need help invalidating a restraining order or defending yourself against a drug charge, you can count on us. To set up an initial consultation with a member of our legal team, all you need to do is give us a call or contact us online.