TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (TRO) v. TEMPORARY PROTECTION ORDER (TPO): DC FAMILY LAWYER

Although the Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO) and the Temporary Civil Protection Orders (TPO) sound similar, the eligibility, process and enforceability of the orders are vastly different.

To be eligible to file for TPO/CPO one must meet either the interpersonal violence, intimate partner violence, or the intrafamily violence criteria.

Interpersonal violence is defined as an act or a criminal offense that is committed or threatened to be committed upon a person:

  • With whom the offender shares or has shared a mutual residence; or
  • Who is or was married to, in a domestic partnership with, divorced or separated from, or in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship with another person who is or was married to, in a domestic partnership with, divorced or separated from, or in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship with the offender.

On the other hand, intimate partner violence definition, again refers to an act constituting as a criminal offense against:

  • To whom the offender is or was married;
  • With whom the offender is or was in a domestic partnership; or
  • With whom the offender is or was in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship.

Intra-family violence refers to and constitutes as a criminal act that is committed or threatened to be committed by an offender upon a person to whom the offender is related by:

  • Blood,
  • Adoption,
  • Legal custody, marriage, or
  • Domestic partnership or
  • With whom the offender has a child in common.

If your case falls under one of the above listed categories, the proper venue is the filing of the Temporary Civil Protection Order which should results into a Civil Protection order enforceable for one year and any violation thereof would be an automatic prosecution as a criminal misdemeanor.

One the other hand, if you case involves seeking a restraining order against one who is not familiar to you and does not qualify under the above categories, then your recourse would be to file for a Temporary Restraining Order along with a motion for Permanent Restraining Order.

The court may issue a temporary restraining order without written or oral notice to the opposing party only if:

  • The affidavit field or a verified complaint clearly show facts and evidence that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the movant before the adverse or opposing party can be heard in opposition; and
  • The movant has made reasonable efforts under the circumstances to provide notice to the adverse party actual notice of the hearing and copies of all pleadings and other papers filed in the action or to be presented to the court at the hearing.

Every temporary restraining order issued must detail:

  • The date and hour it was issued;
  • Describe the injury and state why it is irreparable;
  • State why the order was issued without notice;
  • And be promptly filed in the clerk’s office and entered in the record.
  • The order expires at the time after entry—not to exceed 14 days

The Court will also scheduled a hearing on the motion for permanent restraining order and the movant would have the burden to show why and for what period the restraining order should take effect and to seek also damages or other remedial measures when appropriate.

Violations of these orders are generally enforceable via filing for civil contempt.

Refer to our Washington DC TPR/CPO Lawyer page for more details on this subject.

Categories: Family Law.