Domestic Violence : Enforcement of Protection Orders

What are the penalties for violating a domestic violence protection order?

A violation of either a criminal temporary protection order (TPO) or a civil protection order (CPO) is a crime under Revised Code Section 2919.27 and also constitutes contempt of court.

Generally, violators are prosecuted under Section 2919.27, convicted, and sentenced to the applicable criminal penalties.

A first conviction of violating a protection order is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

 

A second or subsequent conviction of violating a protection order is a felony of the fifth degree, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.

Are law enforcement officers required to enforce domestic violence civil protection orders (CPOs)?

Yes.

The CPO statute requires law enforcement officers to enforce CPOs. See RC 3113.31(S). Moreover, Ohio’s preferred arrest statute provides that arrests is the “preferred course of action” when any officer has reasonable cause to believe that someone has violated a domestic violence civil or criminal protection order. See RC 2935.03(B).

If law enforcement officers fail to enforce a protection order, they might be sued by the victim in a “failure to protect” lawsuit.

Are domestic violence protection orders enforceable statewide?

Yes.

Sometimes, the victim moves from the county where they obtained the civil or criminal protection order to another county. In many of those cases, they are fleeing the abuser.

Ohio civil and criminal protection orders issued in one county are enforceable in any other county in Ohio. Specifically, law enforcement officers in any county in Ohio are required to enforce the protection orders issued in any other county in the same way that they would enforce a protection order issued in their own county. See RC 2919.26(G) and 3113.31(F).

Should the police arrest a person who violates a domestic violence protection order?

In most cases, yes.

Ohio’s preferred arrest statutes, RC 2935.03(B) and 2935.032(A), provide that it is the “preferred course of action” for police officers and sheriff’s deputies to arrest violators of civil or criminal protection orders.

Can a victim of domestic violence who obtains a protection order be charged with violating her own protection order?

No, according to the Ohio Supreme Court.  See State v. Lucas, 100 Ohio St.3d 1 (2003).

The protection order is directed against the abuser, and not against the victim. Therefore, the victimcan not be liable to criminal prosecution or contempt for violating her own protection order.

Must Ohio law enforcement agencies and courts enforce domestic violence protection order issued by the courts of other states?

Yes.

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), 18 U.S.C. Section 2265, Ohio courts must enforce protection orders issued in other states if the other state provided notice and an opportunity for a fair hearing to the abuser. With the possible exception of West Virginia, virtually all states provide a hearing to alleged domestic violence abusers, thereby making their protection orders enforceable in Ohio.

Likewise, domestic violence protection orders issued by Ohio courts are enforceable in other states.

Do law enforcement agencies and courts in other states have to enforce domestic violence protection orders issued by the Ohio courts?

Yes.

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), 18 U.S.C. Section 2265, police departments, sheriff’s departments, and courts in other states must give “full faith and credit” to domestic violence protection orders issued by Ohio courts. They must enforce Ohio domestic violence protection orders as if they were protection orders issued by their own state court.

For example, if an Ohio court issues a domestic violence protection order against an abuser, and the abuser then violates that protection order by committing further abuse against the victim in Michigan, Michigan law enforcement officers and prosecutors may arrest and prosecute the abuser for violating the Ohio protection order.

The information in this site is not intended as legal advice.
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