Domestic violence or domestic abuse can be considered both a civil and a criminal matter. On the civil side, these types of matters will fall under the scope of family court, and can be handled by an attorney who practices family law. Many times, people do not realize this. They often begin immediately searching for a criminal attorney to help them obtain a temporary restraining order, not realizing that it is a civil matter from the start.

Each of the 50 states have their own rules and penalties regarding these types of orders. In the state of Ohio there are two types of orders recognized; a civil protection order and a criminal protection order. A temporary restraining order, also called a civil protection order, is meant to direct a person regarding what they can and cannot do. Violation of it is punishable by fines and up to one year in jail.

A CPO is easier to obtain than a TPO due to the fact that domestic violence does not have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. A person must only go to a judge, explain his or her situation and ask for help. It can remain in effect for up to five years and includes additional provisions such as eviction, temporary custody or orders for counseling.

To obtain a TPO, a person must be able to prove domestic violence beyond a reasonable doubt. These orders can include provisions above and beyond a civil order including awards of personal property and child custody or visitation. Further, if a TPO is violated by the abuser, he or she can be jailed and charged with another crime.

If you feel like a protection order is needed for your safety, consult with a family law attorney as soon as possible.

Source: Findlaw, “Ohio Temporary Restraining Orders,” accessed on Dec. 25, 2017