LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Michael A Troy | Apr 26, 2010

What is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in the District of Columbia? What is a Civil Protection

A civil protection order (CPO) is an order issued by a court in the District of Columbia that protects you from abuse by a current or former spouse, domestic partner, intimate/dating partner, relative (by blood or marriage/domestic partnership), housemate, someone you have a child in common with, or someone who is/was in a relationship with someone who you are/were in a relationship with. It also protects victims of stalking, sexual assault, or sexual abuse.

In Washington D.C., there are three categories of domestic violence: intimate partner violence, intrafamily violence and interpersonal violence. Domestic violence is when one of the following people commits or threatens to commit any crime against you. Intimate partner violence is when someone you are or were married to, in a domestic relationship with, or in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship commits or threatens to commit a crime against you. Intrafamily violence is when someone you are related to by blood, adoption, legal custody, marriage, or domestic partnership commits or threatens to commit a crime against you. If you have a child in common with someone and that person commits or threatens to commit a crime against you it can be categorized as either intrafamily violence or intimate partner violence. Interpersonal violence is when someone you share or shared a home or an apartment with commits or threatens to commit a crime against you. Interpersonal violence is also when someone who is or was in an intimate relationship with the same person you are or were in an intimate relationship with commits or threatens to commit a crime against you.

It is important to note that if you are victim of stalking, sexual assault, or sexual abuse you can file for a CPO against the person who committed or is threatening to commit the act even if you are not covered by one of these categories. A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is issued the day that you file your petition without the person who committed or threatened to commit a crime against you in court. A judge in the District of Columbia will issue the TRO if he or she believes that the safety or welfare of you or a member of your household is in immediate danger. The TRO lasts for fourteen days. A CPO will be issued by a judge in the District of Columbia if there is a court hearing where you and the person who committed or threatens to commit a crime against you both appear and present evidence and testimony to the judge, or only you appear and the person who committed or threatens to commit a crime against you fails to appear and you can prove that he was properly served with notice of the court date, or the person who committed or is threatening to commit the crime consents to the order being issued. A judge in the District of Columbia will only issue the CPO if he or she has good cause to believe that a person committed or threatened to commit a criminal offense against you. Although you do not need a lawyer to file for a TRO or CPO, it may be to your advantage to seek legal counsel. In addition if someone files a TRO against you it is recommended that you contact a lawyer to make sure your legal rights are protected.

In either case, we recommend that you retain qualified legal counsel. Should you have questions, don’t hesitate to call The Law Offices of Michael A. Troy, PLLC for a free consultation. Call (202) 965-1299.

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