Civil Protective Orders in Washington, D.C.

What is a Civil Protective Order (CPO)?

A CPO is an Order issued by a court in Washington, DC restricting one individual from interacting with another individual. A typical CPO restricts contact, communication, harassment, assault, threatening, and stalking. More recently CPO’s have also been used to address online and/or cyber issues. For example, a person maybe restricted from posting images or information about the other individual on the Internet or transmitting them through email.

What Requirements are Necessary to Obtain a Protective Order?

Generally speaking, the person from whom you are seeking protection must be, “a family member, roommate, someone with whom you had a dating relationship or a child in common, are or were married to, or if they previously dated your current or former boyfriend or girlfriend. You may also file if you are the victim of stalking, sexual assault, or sexual abuse.”

You must also prove that the other individual threatened to commit a crime against you, or did in fact commit a crime against you.

How do I get a Civil Protective Order from the Court?

In order to obtain a CPO you will first need to go to the D.C. Superior Court and file a petition for a CPO. A judge will then review your petition and may grant you a temporary protective order. A hearing date will then be set, usually approximately two weeks from issuance of the temporary protective order, at which time the parties will present evidence to the court regarding the allegations set forth in the petition and the petition will be either granted or denied.