If you have been accused of committing domestic violence, you may have a restraining order filed against you. Some types of restraining orders are issued by civil courts. However, a criminal protective order (CPO) can be issued by a criminal court after a domestic violence arrest or in connection with a domestic violence charge.

This type of restraining order is initiated by the District Attorney’s Office, not the alleged victim of abuse. A CPO is issued to protect the alleged abuse victim during the criminal case.

How long will the CPO last?

Your copy of the CPO should list the date the order will end. Often CPO’s remain in effect until the conclusion of the related criminal case. However, sometimes CPO’s can last longer. If a court finds you guilty, the CPO could extend up to three years after the conclusion of the case.

Keep in mind that the protected person cannot cancel the order. Only a judge can modify or change the CPO.

What should I do if I receive a CPO?

If you receive a CPO, or any other type of restraining order, it is important to carefully read the order over as soon as possible. It may require you to refrain from contacting the protected person, relinquish any firearms you may own or abide by other terms. Violating the terms of the order could lead to fines and jail time. It may also work against you in your criminal case.

A CPO and the related domestic violence accusations can be infuriating and insulting. However, they must be taken seriously to avoid potentially life-altering consequences. You may request to have the CPO modified by a judge. However, the best legal response to a CPO may depend on the specific circumstances surrounding your domestic violence case.