RICHARD C. PFEIFFER, JR.
What are Protection Orders?
A Protection Order is granted
by a Judge and orders the defendant to stay away from you. The defendant should
not enter your home or approach you at your place of work or school. If the defendant
violates the protection order, a new charge could be filed and the defendant could
Judge may grant the Protection Order, it does not guarantee your safety.
It is important for you to be very careful and take steps to ensure your safety
as much as possible. (See
The law (2919.27 and 3113.31
Ohio Revised Code) states that protection orders issued anywhere in the State of
Ohio are enforceable throughout the state - if they are current and still valid.
Comparable protection orders issued in other states may also be valid in Ohio.
Are all Protection Orders the same?
No. There are four different
kinds of protection orders. Municipal (Criminal) court
may issue a Domestic Violence Temporary Protection Order (DVTPO) or a Criminal Protection
Order (CRPO) depending on the type of charge
and your relationship to the defendant. Civil (Domestic) Court issues Civil Protection
Orders (CPO) if you are a family or household member of the defendant. If you are
being stalked, Common Pleas Court may issue a Civil Stalking or Sexually Orientated Offense Protection Order (SSOOPO).
What is a Civil Protection Order?
A CPO is issued by the Domestic
Relations Court to protect victims of domestic violence. A CPO is intended to prevent
further domestic violence. It orders someone who has been abusive to do or not
to do certain things in the future.
You should consider requesting
a CPO - even if you have a DVTPO from a criminal court - because a CPO lasts longer.
A petition for
a Civil Protection Order (CPO) can be filed with the Domestic Relations Court. You
may want to contact your own attorney, Capital University Family Advocacy Clinic
(645-6232), or Legal Aid (224-8374) to see if you qualify for a CIVIL PROTECTION
ORDER. You do not have to be getting a divorce to ask for a CPO.
The CPO (Civil Protection Order) may include the following orders:
If you have already filed for a divorce you may have received a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING
ORDER. This order is to stop the sale of property and transfer of money. The
police cannot make an arrest on this type of order. Your attorney
will need to file a Contempt of Court.
What is a Civil Stalking or Sexually Orientated Offense Protection Order?
A SSOOPO is issued by the General
Division of Common Pleas Court specifically to protect victims of stalking. A SSOOPO
orders someone who has been engaging in stalking behavior to end that behavior.
For additional information on stalking, please call 645-6232.
Who can get a Criminal Protection Order?
If you are not
considered a household or family member according to O.R.C. 2919.25, then you may
request a Protection Order if any of the following charges are filed on your
- Felonious Assault
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Menacing
- Menacing by Stalking
- Aggravated Trespass
If you are
considered a household or family member according to O.R.C. 2919.25, then you may
request a Protection Order if an offence of violence is filed on your behalf.
Offense of violence include but are not limited to:
- Domestic Violence
- Felonious Assault
- Aggravated Assault
- Menacing by Stalking
- Aggravated Trespass
- Criminal Damaging/Endangering
- Criminal Mischief
- Endangering Children
Contact the domestic violence unit for additional information - 645-6232
How do I get a Criminal Protection Order?
If all of the above apply
and the prosecutor's office has assisted you in filing a criminal charge, then you
need to call the Clerk of Courts each day to determine if the defendant has been
arrested, and when the defendant is scheduled to be in arraignment court (either
Courtroom 4-D or 4-C)
CLERK OF COURTS - 645-8186 or 645-8819
If the police
filed the charge, you should come to court the next working day, Monday - Saturday.
However, to save yourself a trip downtown, you may want to call the Clerk's
Office (645-8186 or 645-8819) just to make sure the defendant is scheduled the next day. If the morning the defendant is scheduled in arraignment court is Monday -
Friday, you need to contact the Domestic Violence Unit, Municipal Court Building,
375 South High Street on the 17th floor, who will assist you in requesting the protection
order. It is important that you contact the Domestic Violence Unit (645-6232) by 9:30 a.m.
If the defendant is scheduled
for arraignment on a Saturday morning, just go directly to Courtroom 4-D on the
4th floor of the Municipal Court Building. A member of the Domestic Violence Unit
staff will meet you in the courtroom.
Who are considered family and household members?
The following MUST BE LIVING WITH, OR HAVE LIVED WITH, THE OFFENDER:
What court should I use?
You do not have
to choose between filing a Complaint in a criminal court and filing a Petition in
Domestic Relations Court. If you have been abused, you may file in either or both
How long does the order last?
The criminal protection order
is good only as long as the related charge is pending. When the case is resolved,
the order expires.
A Civil Protection Order
or Civil Stalking Protection Order can last up to five years and possibly be renewed
for an additional five years.
Can I get a Criminal Protection Order any
No. In order to get a Criminal
Protection Order, one of the charges mentioned in Who can get a Criminal Protection
Order? must be filed against the defendant. Protection orders are usually
granted in Arraignment Court; however, they can be requested at any time during
the criminal case.
Why do I have to come to the Arraignment Court Hearing?
In order to get a Criminal
Protection Order you need to be present at Arraignment Court. Typically, a hearing
is held in order to establish grounds to consider granting the Criminal Protection
Order. A hearing must be held allowing the Judge and the defendant's attorney a
chance to hear from you what happened and why you want the protection order.
Arraignment Court is also
where the Judge sets bond on the defendant, and the prosecutor needs to know your
feelings about the defendant's release.
What will happen in Arraignment Court?
You will probably be asked
to stand in front of the Judge (a Domestic Violence Advocate will be with you),
raise your right hand and swear your statements are true. The Judge, prosecutor
and/or defendant's attorney may ask you questions. Answer all questions as briefly
and honestly as you can. The Judge wants to hear what happened during the incident
and why you want a protection order.
Be aware that any information
you give under oath can and may be used by the defendant's attorney.
What is the Domestic Violence Unit?
The Domestic Violence Unit
is a division of the City Attorney's Office, Prosecutor's Division. The advocates
are there to provide you with information about the court process, answer your questions,
and work as your connection to the prosecutor who will be handling your case.
Because prosecutors have
so many cases, they have the staff from the Domestic Violence Unit help them. The
prosecutors rely on the professionally trained, experienced Domestic Violence Advocates
to provide you with support and assistance and to help them successfully prosecute
What is bond?
Bond is intended to insure
the defendant's return to court, it is not a punishment for the incident. If the
defendant has a history of not showing up for court, of if there are previous convictions
for criminal acts, or if the defendant is charged with a felony crime such as murder/rape,
the Judge may set a high bond.
What kind of bond will be set in my case?
The Judge takes many different things into consideration when setting bond. There are several types of bond:
The Judge will also take
into consideration such facts as whether the defendant has a job, has been convicted
of a crime of violence against a family member, has disobeyed protection orders
in the past, the extent of your injuries, and other information.
Can the Judge include my child(ren) on the Criminal Protection Order?
Usually the Judges will not
include your child(ren) on the Protection Order unless a charge was filed on behalf
of the child. Custody of children is decided by Domestic Court, not Criminal Court.
Unless ordered by a Judge,
the defendant has the right to visit his/her children
(if paternity has been legally established.) As long as there is a Protection
Order in effect, the defendant needs to make alternative arrangements for getting
the child(ren). For example, having the child(ren) dropped off at a neutral location
(relative, neighbor's home). Visitation does not give the defendant the right
to enter your place of residence. If you have questions regarding visitation, please
contact your Domestic attorney.
If I obtain a Protection Order from the
court, does that mean the defendant has been found guilty?
No. The issuance of a
Protection Order does not mean the defendant has been found guilty. The prosecution
must still prove your case "beyond a reasonable doubt" at trial. You must take steps
to preserve your evidence for trial. It is very important to remember any witnesses
and evidence that may help us prosecute your case. Be sure to let the advocate or
prosecutor know if there is additional evidence.
What should I do if there
is a violation of the Protection Order?
The violation of a Protection
Order is a criminal offense in addition to any criminal charges already filed.
If the defendant violates
the Protection Order or the protective provision of the CPO/SSOOPO in any
way, call the police. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REASON OR ARGUE WITH THE DEFENDANT.
GET YOURSELF TO SAFETY. When the police arrive, show them a copy of your Protection
Order. The police will want to confirm the validity of the Protection Order with
their records department or the Clerk of Courts.
Ask the police to make a
report regarding the Protection Order violation (even if the officer does not make
an arrest). Also, write down the officer's name and badge number so that the prosecutor's
office can contact the officer if it becomes necessary.
If the police do not file
the Violation of a Protection Order charge, you should contact the Domestic Violence
What should I do about pressure from friends,
family, the defendant or defendant's attorney?
When a criminal charge is
filed, a lot of different things can happen. You may receive advice from friends
and family, calls or visits from the defendant, calls from the attorney for the
defendant, etc. Regardless of who you speak to, remember the prosecutor represents
the state and your interest. If any person threatens or pressures you to ask for
a dismissal or just not to show up, please tell the Domestic Violence Unit or the
prosecutor immediately. Make sure when speaking with any person who identifies
himself or herself as an attorney, you get their name and phone number. If anyone
calls saying they are from the Prosecutor's Office, get their name.
What do I do if the defendant's attorney contacts me?
You are under no obligation
to discuss this case with anyone other than a representative of the Prosecutor's
Office. You may be contacted by the defendant's attorney regarding dropping charges.
You may talk to the attorney,
but you do not have to. While they may
be very understanding and friendly, they are working for the defendant. Be
careful what you say. Don't say anything you wouldn't want heard on the witness
stand. Before making any decision you need to speak to the prosecutor for his/her
advice regarding the outcome of the case.
What should I do about phone calls?
If the defendant is in jail
they can only make reverse charge calls unless they get an outside party with a
3-way phone service to call for them. Annoying calls from the jail should be reported
to the Domestic Violence Unit.
Telephone calls made by the
defendant's friends or family members to you or your family, or hang-up calls, are
not considered a violation of the protection order. There may, however, be additional
charges under certain circumstances. Check with the Domestic Violence Unit if you
are not sure. One solution to this problem is to hang up!
Will I have to come back to court?
You may have several court
appearances before the case is finally over. You will probably be subpoenaed to
appear in court several times. After arraignment court there is usually a pre-trial
hearing scheduled. This hearing gives the prosecutor a chance to review your case,
discuss it with the defendant's attorney and determine whether the case should be
scheduled for trial. There may be more than one pre-trial. After all pre-trial issues
are resolved; the case is usually scheduled for a jury trial or a court trial. Again,
there may be more than one scheduled date. On the day of a jury or court trial,
the prosecutor is only able to take one case to trial. This must be the oldest
case. If your case is not the oldest, it may be rescheduled.
We recognize that coming
back to court is inconvenient. We ask your cooperation in this since we are one
of the busiest courts in the country. If you are working close to downtown, we may
be able to put you on call. Please check with you Domestic Violence Unit advocate
or your prosecutor regarding being placed "on call". Unfortunately, it is not possible
to schedule court dates around your work schedule, vacation, etc.
How will I know when to come back to court?
You will receive a subpoena
in the mail. It could come as soon as the same week as the arraignment or as long
as a month later. If the defendant is in jail, expect to return to court in approximately
10 days or less. The subpoena will tell you the correct date, time and courtroom.
If you are concerned about
receiving your mail, we suggest a call to the Domestic Violence Unit to check on
the status of your case. You will need the defendant's name and case number to receive
NOTE: Please make sure the
Domestic Violence Unit has your current address and phone number. If you move or
are staying with friends, they need that address. Make sure you can safely get your
mail at the address you give them.
What if I miss work?
If you miss work due to a
subpoena to appear in court, the law states that your employer cannot punish you.
Specifically, no employer shall discharge, discipline or otherwise retaliate against
a victim of a member of the victim's family for participation, at the prosecutor's
request, in a criminal proceeding. Any employer who violates this section is in
contempt of court. Please make your advocate aware if you are having problems with
Your employer, however, is
not required to pay you for the time you are absent from work.
Your advocate can provide
you with a work/school excuse if needed.
What does my subpoena mean?
The subpoena is a court order
requiring you to appear in court. If you are subpoenaed to appear in court and do
not appear, it makes it more difficult for the prosecution to prove the case. In
addition, the court may hold you responsible for any court costs that have accrued
in the case and/or hold you in contempt of court. It is
very important that
you come to all court hearings on time!
What can happen to the defendant?
All charges in Municipal
Court are misdemeanors. Depending on the degree of the misdemeanor, the maximum
sentence will vary. The following are the degrees of misdemeanors and the maximum
Despite what you may hear
about the defendant going to jail or losing his/her job, please remember - Jail is
only one option. It is not the only option.
The Franklin County Municipal
Court has an excellent probation department which makes regular referrals for drug
and alcohol counseling or domestic violence counseling.
Can the court order the defendant to get
Yes. The court
may be agreeable to placing the defendant on probation and ordering him/her to attend
domestic violence/drug/alcohol counseling. You need to make sure the prosecutor/Domestic
Violence Unit is aware of your request for counseling. This cannot take place until
the defendant has been put on probation after being found guilty. THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN
AT ARRAIGNMENT COURT
Can the Court order the defendant to pay
bills, child support, etc.?
No. This type of order is
obtained in Domestic Relations Court (divorce court).
It is not unheard
of for the defendant to have utility services in their name cut off as a means of
pressuring you. You can avoid this by having the utility companies place the services
in your name. If you have a Criminal Protection Order, the defendant is not allowed
to turn off your utilities. If this happens, it could be a violation of the protection order. See What should I do
if there is a violation of the Protection Order?
How do I get paid back for any damages
such as furniture, hospital bills, etc.?
Payment for damages is known
as restitution. Restitution is usually handled by Small Claims Court or may be covered
by the Crime Victims Compensation Fund. Ask a Domestic Violence Unit representative
if you have any questions.
What if I want to drop the charge?
First of all, please be aware
of the fact that you are a witness for the prosecution. Even though you are the
person who suffered as a result of the crime, the case is "State of
or City of
-vs- (Name of Defendant)." The prosecutor is responsible for
making decisions about all cases.
PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE DOES NOT DISMISS CHARGES SOLELY UPON YOUR REQUEST.
This doesn't mean they do not need your input,
but it does mean that either the prosecutor or judge will make the final decision
about the case.
What if he/she had my keys, money or property
when he/she was arrested?
The defendant cannot be made
to release any possessions, including money, property, checks, keys and other belongings,
without a court order directing the person (or jailer) to remove such items. Most
Judges will not address the release of property since they consider it a civil matter,
out of their jurisdiction.
What about the defendant's property and
Generally, the Judge will
ask if the defendant has clothing at your place of residence. If so, the Judge may
tell the defendant to contact the police, who will escort the defendant to your
residence and wait while he/she gets clothing/personal effects. This is not an opportunity
for the defendant to move furniture. Should you agree, you may want to allow a relative/friend
of the defendant into your home to collect their possessions. Another alternative
would be for you to pack the defendant's belongings and leave them where the defendant
can collect them. Should you have any questions, check with the Domestic Violence
What happens if we run into each other
in a public place?
If you and the defendant
see each other in a public place, we recommend that you don't confront him/her.
If the defendant doesn't leave, then you should leave with someone, or call someone
to be with you. If you are approached by the defendant, or are in fear of
your safety, call the police.
We are aware that your
situation may change during the course of this case. If you resume your relationship
with the defendant, move, change jobs or any other significant change, please let
the Domestic Violence Unit know immediately.
FOR YOUR SAFELY WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU:
FAILURE TO APPEAR FOR COURT WHEN SUBPOENAED MAY BE PUNISHABLE
BY A CONTEMPT OF COURT ACTION.
YOU MAY BE THE PERSON ASSAULTED/THREATENED
(THE VICTIM), BUT THE STATE OF OHIO'S LAWS WERE VIOLATED. THEREFORE THE PROSECUTOR
IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING THE DECISIONS ABOUT ALL CASES.
YOUR SAFETY IS IMPORTANT AND YOU HAVE A
RIGHT TO BE SAFE!
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS
Please see your advocate to develop a personal
safety plan. You have the right to be safe and free from harm. Your safety is important.
The most important thing for you is to protect yourself and your children.
YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR PARTNER'S
BEHAVIOR. You cannot control or change your partner's behavior.
Plan now for someplace to go if your partner
threatens you or makes you feel unsafe.
The following are suggestions
that may help you during this difficult time:
If you have any questions,
the Domestic Violence Unit is available Monday - Friday, 8:00 - 4:30, to assist
you. Call 645-6232.
UNDERSTANDING THE COURT PROCESS
* THE THREE PHASE SYSTEM *
: The victim has the right to give the court
input on sentencing.
The offender could be sentenced
to the following:
Jail Time(maximum 6 months) or 30 days if charge was a threat only
Fine (up to $1,000)
with ordered counseling (domestic violence, drug, and alcohol counseling)
STAY AWAY ORDER
as a condition of probation or an order that there be no same or similar acts of violence towards the victim.
is not an arrestable order. Violations need to be handled through the defendant's
probation officer. If you are in immediate danger, call the police.
have continuing safety concerns you may want to file for a CPO or SSOOPO
(see What is a
Civil Protection Order?).