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.

Another misunderstanding about CPOs and TPOs is who can cancel or terminate the order. In short, a judge's signature is required to terminate a CPO or TPO. The person who requested the Order may petition or ask the judge to terminate the Order, but until a judge does so in writing the Order remains in effect. Therefore, just because someone says that she has requested the protection order be "dropped" does not mean that it has been, and contact is still prohibited.

If you are unclear about your rights or whether you have an existing protection order against you, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney now.