If a court grants a request for a domestic violence protection order, the alleged offender may be limited on who they can contact, where they can go, and what they can do. Recklessly violating the terms of a protection order is either a misdemeanor or a felony. A conviction can result in the individual being at risk of criminal penalties in addition to the ones that could be imposed for the underlying DV offense.
What Is Domestic Violence?
A protection order may be issued when a person has been accused of a domestic violence crime. Domestic violence occurs when an individual physically harms or threatens to physically harm a family or household member.
Family or household members include:
- Former spouses
- Foster parents and children
- Parents or children of a spouse
- The other parent of the alleged offender's child
In DV matters, the alleged victim or a family or household member of the alleged victim may file a request for a protection order. In emergency situations, the arresting officer may submit a motion on behalf of the alleged victim.
What Is a Protection Order?
A protection order is issued as a condition of pretrial release in a domestic violence case. That means, if the alleged offender has been arrested and taken into police custody, to get out of jail while they await trial, they must agree to abide by the terms of the protection order.
The purpose of a protection order is to ensure the safety of the alleged DV victim or others whose safety may be at risk if the alleged offender is released from jail.
How Is a Protection Order Issued in OH?
A court will determine whether to issue a protection order against the alleged offender. The court will hold a hearing within 24 hours of the motion requesting a protection order being filed. During this proceeding, the person asking for the order will explain why they believe such action is warranted. The person against whom the order is being sought will also have an opportunity to present their side of the story and counter the alleged victim's arguments.
If the court decides that the alleged offender poses a safety risk to others, the judge will approve the request for a protection order.
In some cases, a protection order may be granted without the alleged offender being able to appear at a hearing. This is what is called an ex parte order, and it is issued in emergency situations. If an ex parte order is issued, the court must hold a hearing the next day where the alleged offender may be present.
What Are the Conditions of a Protection Order?
When the court grants a protection order, it will specify the terms the individual must adhere to. The conditions will vary, as they depend on what the judge believes is necessary to ensure the alleged victim's safety.
That said, some terms include:
- Refraining from going to the alleged victim's home, school, business, or place of employment
- Not communicating with the alleged victim
- Not removing, concealing, or damaging a companion animal belonging to the alleged victim
- Not possessing or purchasing firearms
What Happens Upon a Violation of a Protection Order in Ohio?
The person against whom the protection order is issued must ensure that they abide by all conditions. Failing to do so can result in additional criminal charges and penalties.
For a first offense, violating a protection order is a first-degree misdemeanor.
A conviction can result in:
- Up to 180 days in jail and/or
- Up to $1,000 in fines
If the individual was previously convicted one or more times of violating a protection order or two or more times of aggravated menacing, menacing by stalking, menacing, or aggravated trespass, the current violation is a fifth-degree felony.
The conviction penalties include:
- Up to 12 months in prison and/or
- Up to $2,500 in fines
Domestic violence protection orders are in effect until the criminal case concludes or a civil protection order is granted (if requested). That means anyone subject to a temporary protection order must be extremely careful about what they do. One wrong move can lead to criminal accusations and penalties – even if the conduct might not be a crime under the Ohio Revised Code.