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How does a Petitioner Qualify for a Temporary Protection Order in the District of Columbia?

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So, for a Judge to grant temporary relief to a petitioner (the individual requesting protection) there must be an underlining offense that is criminal in nature. What does that mean? There must have been one of the following: harassing, assaultive, threating, stalking, or some other behavior that is criminal.

How come they did not hear my side of the story?

So Temporary Protection Order is heard on an ex-parte basis (meaning the Judge only hears one side of the story). If the Judge believes the person needs protection, a TPO will be entered. Remember this is very low standard and you are not there so the judge only hears one side of the story.

When is my side of the Story heard?

The TPO only lasts for 14 days. After 14 days there will be a hearing where your side of the story is heard. This is called a Civil Protection Order hearing.

What happens at the CPO hearing?

During the CPO hearing, you will be given an opportunity to present witnesses and evidence. The burden of proof is on the petitioner. However, the burden is the petitioner to prove by a preponderance of evidence, (i.e. this preponderance is based on more convincing evidence & it is probable truth or accuracy, & not on the amount of evidence). If the judge finds in favor of the petitioner after an evidentiary hearing, a CPO will be entered against you. This is why it is important to consult with an attorney before proceeding to a CPO hearing.

Do I have to have a CPO hearing

No, There are three other ways in which a CPO can be resolved (1) by consent with an admission by the Respondent that the domestic violence has occurred (but who in their right mind would do that!); (2) by consent without admission that the domestic violence has occurred (sure you can take this option and DIY, but there are consequences to this and we’ll discuss this later); (3) by private agreement between the parties and the court dismiss the CPO case (usually without prejudice)

What should I do If served with TPO?

You should contact an experienced attorney that routinely handles TPO/CPO in DC Superior Court. At Rollins and Chan law firm we have handled hundreds of these types of cases. Please call our office at 202-455-5610 for a free consultation or contact us online at: