Frequently Asked Questions PDF Print E-mail

Protection Orders

What are Protection Orders?

A Protection Order is granted by a Judge and orders the defendant to have no contact with you. The defendant should not enter your home or approach you at your place of work or school. If the defendant violates the Protection Order, a new charge may be filed and the defendant could be arrested again.

Are all Protection Orders the same?

No. There are three different kinds of Protection Orders. A Judge in a criminal case in Municipal or Common Pleas Court may issue a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) in a case depending on the type of charge and your relationship to the defendant. A Judge in Domestic Relations Court issues a Civil Protection Order (CPO). A Judge in Common Pleas Court can also issue an Anti-Stalking Civil Protection Order.

What is the difference between criminal and civil Protection Orders?     

Protection orders issued by the Municipal or Common Pleas Courts in a criminal case are temporary. They expire at the end of the case or sentencing of the defendant. Civil Protection Orders issued by the Domestic Relations Court can last up to five years and may be renewed. Civil Protection Orders issued by the Domestic Relations Court can also address issues of custody, division of property, and financial support.

Who can get a Protection Order in a criminal case?

The Municipal Court and/or Common Pleas Court may grant protection orders as part of the criminal case to Victims of any of the following offenses: Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence by Menacing, Felonious Assault, Aggravated Assault, Assault, Menacing by Stalking, Aggravated Trespass, Aggravated Menacing, and Menacing.

How do I get a Protection Order in a criminal case?

A criminal charge must have been filed against the defendant (the person charged with the crime); the crime must be one of those listed in the answer to the previous question; you must be the Victim of the crime; and your relationship with the defendant must comply with the law. You may be asked to sign a request for a protection order at the time the criminal charges are filed. Your request puts the court on notice that you seek its protection. If you make such a request, the court may require you to come forward for a hearing before it issues the Protection Order. This usually happens on the day the defendant has an initial appearance.

Can anyone help me obtain a Protection Order?

Yes. The Domestic Violence Unit/SAFE Program, The Victim Assistance Program and the Battered Women’s Shelter all regularly assist Victims in understanding this area of the law. You can contact them at:

SAFE Program(Domestic Violence Unit)

Victim Assistance Program

Battered Women’s Shelter

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