FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON CIVIL PROTECTION ORDERS (CPO’s)
What is a CPO?
CPO is short for Civil Protection Order. A CPO is a court order directing an individual not to have contact with and to stay away from another person.
What is a SSOOPO?
SSOOPO is short for Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order. The procedures followed for SSOOPOs are the same as for CPOs.
Who is eligible to request a CPO?
Any person 18 years of age may seek a CPO on behalf of themselves and any other family or household member. Respondent must also be at least 18 years old.
How does someone get a CPO?
The CPO process starts with an individual (called the Petitioner) filing a written document called a petition with the Clerk of Court asking that the Court order another person (called the Respondent) to stay away. The case is set for a prompt court decision called an ex parte hearing. If the Petitioner can prove that an order is legally proper, the Court will issue an ex parte CPO directing the Respondent to stay away. This can occur before the Respondent has notice of the court case.
How does the Clerk locate the Respondent in a CPO case?
It is the responsibility of the Petitioner seeking the CPO to provide the Clerk’s office with a current address for the Respondent so the proper court papers can be delivered.
Where do I go to start the CPO process?
The necessary court documents to start the case are filed at the Clerk of Court’s office, Clermont County Common Pleas Courthouse, First Floor, 270 East Main Street, Batavia, Ohio, 45103.
Who hears the CPO cases?
CPO matters are heard and decided by the judges and magistrates of the Clermont County Common Pleas Court. Whether a judge or magistrate presides makes no difference in the CPO process.
How is a final order handled?
At the time an ex parte CPO is issued, the Court sets the case for a full hearing with both sides present. At the time of the full hearing, the Court makes a decision based on the evidence on whether or not to issue a final order.
How long does a final CPO last?
A CPO issued after a full hearing can be in force for up to five years.
Can I bring an attorney to a CPO hearing?
Yes. Both the Petitioner and the Respondent may bring attorneys to represent them.
I can’t afford an attorney. Will the Court appoint or assign one to help pursue or defend a CPO?
No. CPO cases are civil, not criminal. There is no right to a court-appointed attorney in a civil proceeding. You should also note that the Prosecuting Attorney and the Public Defender do not participate in CPO hearings.
Should I bring witnesses to a CPO hearing?
Yes. The Court will listen to all the evidence including the testimony of witnesses before making a decision in a CPO case. You should also bring any documents you wish to use as exhibits.
I live in Clermont County, but the stalking occurred at my work in Hamilton County. Where do I file my CPO petition?
You must file in Clermont County. All CPOs are filed in the Petitioner’s county of residence regardless of where the alleged stalking took place.
Will the Respondent be arrested if the Petitioner wins at the full hearing?
No. A CPO hearing is a civil matter, not criminal. No one is arrested at the hearing no matter what the evidence. However, a later violation of the CPO by the Respondent can result in arrest and criminal prosecution.
Does the Petitioner get police protection if they win a CPO?
No. The CPO is a court order, nothing more. It does not provide physical police or sheriff’s protection for the Petitioner.
My protection order has been violated. What should I do?
You should contact your local police, as violation of a CPO may result criminal charges.
How is a CPO dismissed or modified?
Any motion to dismiss or modify a CPO should be filed in writing with the Clerk of Courts office, which will set the matter for a hearing before the assigned judge or magistrate.