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How to Deal with Criminal Protective Orders in Domestic Violence Cases

How to Deal with an Emergency Protective Order or Criminal Protective Order in Domestic Violence Cases

If you have been arrested for domestic violence there is a good chance there will be an emergency protective order issued immediately after your arrest. There will most likely be a Criminal Protective Order which will follow you during the pendency of your criminal case and during probation, should you be convicted of a crime.

An Emergency Protective Order is a short term order, normally valid for 5 to 10 days, issued by a judge based upon a declaration of police saying that some sort of violence has occurred. The order is served upon the arrestee by law enforcement and mandates that the person arrested stay away from the protected person. The short term order is to allow the protected person to get away from the violence and give them enough time to go to court for a temporary restraining order.

If you are served with an Emergency Protective Order, this is a valid court order which means you must comply with its terms. You must stay away from the protected person and not have ANY contact with them personally, telephonically, electronically or even through a third person. The only exception to this rule is that your lawyer or your lawyer’s representative could contact the protected person.

A violation of an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) could be punishable as a misdemeanor by up to a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Further, a violation of the order could affect bail or the ultimate resolution of the case. For example: If you are arrested for domestic violence, post bail of $20,000 (misdemeanor) to $50,000 (felony) and get released, you must comply with all court orders, including an EPO. If you violate the protective order while out on bail and the court finds out, you will likely be taken back into custody and your bail could be dramatically increased or even denied.

This may mean that you have to stay away from your wife, your family, your home and personal belongings for several days. This may cause great inconvenience and expense. However, it beats the alternative of going back to jail.

Once you go to court on your case, expect to have a Criminal Protective Order (CPO) following you along in your case. This order could take one of two forms. It could be a “full stay away order” meaning have no contact with the protected person or people. Or, it could be a “do not harass/annoy/molest order” meaning you can have peaceful contact with the protected person, but you are still subject to the order. This means you cannot do anything to upset, strike, annoy, the protected person or you will be subject to arrest and new criminal charges. This order will likely remain in place during the pendency of your case. This could be several months until the case resolves.

After the case is over, if you are convicted of any crime, and probation is granted, there will almost always be a Criminal Protective Order issued which will last the term of probation, normally three years. This order, as discussed above, could be a “full stay” away or a “do not annoy/harass/molest”. Take these orders seriously. They place a great deal of power in the hands of the protected person and a great deal of leverage in the hands of the prosecutor. Additionally, while subject to any protective order, you may not own or possess any firearms or ammunition. Possession of guns is a violation of an EPO, CPO or restraining order.

If you or someone close to you has been arrested for domestic violence or you have questions about an Emergency Protective Order, Criminal Protective Order or any other crime or DUI, or if you want a second opinion from a veteran defense attorney,

Call me: Attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or

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