Andrew H. Stevenson, Attorney At Law
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TPO / CPO Archives

Common Misunderstandings About Protection Orders (TPO / CPO)

One the most frequent misunderstandings I encounter about protection orders (TPO and CPO) is who is actually restricted by the judicial order. In a common scenario a TPO is issued against a husband or boyfriend who has been charged with domestic violence. The order prohibits the defendant/husband from having any contact with the complaining witness/wife. It does not in anyway restrict or prohibit the wife from contacting the husband. The wife can call the husband's cell phone, leave messages and not be in violation of the TPO. However, as soon as the husband responds or returns the call he has violated the TPO and is subject to criminal charges. A TPO or CPO is an order by a judge against one person only, the named defendant or respondent.

What is the Difference between a TPO and a CPO?

A TPO (Temporary Protection Order) and a CPO (Civil Protection Order) are very similar, but there are a few very important distinctions. Both are court orders issued by a judge that restrict the contact one person can have with another. In short, they are "stay away" or "no contact" orders. The order is issued against a single person and prohibits him from contacting or going near named individuals. A violation of either a TPO or CPO is a criminal offense and is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000.00. Both the TPO and CPO can also restrict a person's access to his home, family, firearms, and require or prohibit many other actions. In both cases, a defendant or respondent is entitled to a hearing and to have legal representation.

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