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What Is Criminal Protective Order?
(Definition, Types & Penalties)

A Criminal Protective Order, or “CPO,” is an order made by a judge to protect a witness to, or victim of, a crime. Such persons are referred to as “Protected Persons,” and CPOs are most often issued in domestic violence cases.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What Types of Criminal Protective Orders May Be Issued?

There are 2 basic types of criminal protective orders. A CPO may require a defendant to stay away from and have no contact with, a Protected Person. These CPOs are referred to as “No Contact” orders.

The other type of CPO permits contact between a defendant and the Protected Person, but only if that contact is conducted peacefully. These are called “Peaceful Contact” orders.

Also Read: Criminal Law Discovery Rules and Procedures

How Do I Get Rid of a Criminal Protective Order?

If you would like to have a criminal protective order against you nullified, you should discuss your situation with the Victim Witness Office. Once you are better informed of the process, you can request that the Criminal Court amend the Criminal Protective Order by filling out a Petition for Modification of Protective Order. File it with the court that initially ordered the original Protective Order.

Related Article: How Long Does Felony Stay on You?

What's the Difference Between a Protective Order and a Restraining Order?

A protective order is a type of restraining order; however, there are key differences between the 2. A criminal restraining order can only limit a narrow set of behaviors while a protective order can force the defendant to do or not do many things.

Secondly, a restraining order is a civil matter made to a judge by a private citizen to protect them from another private citizen. The official legal term for this is an "ex parte request," where the victim requests that the court make a decree of allowable behavior without notifying the other party until a final hearing for a Permanent Restraining Order (PRO) is issued.

Read Also: Which Felonies Cannot be Expunged?

Penalties for a Criminal Protective Order Violation

A violation of a criminal protective order can have severe legal ramifications. It's a misdemeanor offense that carries the following penalties:

  • Up to one year in a county jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000

The case can be prosecuted as a “wobbler” if the defendant has a prior conviction or the current violation involved an act of violence. If convicted of a felony, the penalties may include:

  • Up to three years in a state prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000

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A restraining order or CPO filed against you can impact your life; that is why the attorneys at Schmidt & Clark, LLP have extensive experience in stay-away orders and can help.

Our defense lawyers will fight to challenge the basis of an order, prevent a judge from issuing it as part of your court case, and try to remove it from public view. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.