Ohio Temporary Restraining Order Laws

Note: Any person in a dangerous emergency situation requiring immediate intervention should call 911 for assistance.

In Ohio, a civil or criminal protection order is a court order directing a person to do or not do certain things. It's a piece of paper a judge signs stating the terms someone must follow or else risk legal consequences.

In domestic violence situations, there may be both family law and criminal cases occurring at the same time as a result of the same violent act. You may want to pursue both civil and criminal actions for maximum protection. Both a civil (CPO) and criminal protection order (TPO) orders an abuser not to abuse or harass a victim of domestic violence. However, in Ohio, these orders are very different legal tools.

Civil Protection Order (CPO)

In order to obtain a civil protection order, an abused person must go to court and ask the judge for help.

It is easier to prove domestic violence for the purpose of obtaining a CPO than it is to prove criminal charges of domestic violence because of the lesser standard of proof: preponderance of the evidence in CPO cases vs. beyond a reasonable doubt in TPO cases.

In additionally, a CPO may contain additional provisions such as evicting the abuser from the parties' home, awarding temporary child custody or temporary support to the domestic violence victim, or ordering both parties to obtain counseling.

A judge can issue the CPO on an emergency basis if the victim is in "present and immediate danger" or after a formal hearing.

Temporary Protection Order (TPO)

A domestic violence criminal protection order, called a "temporary protection order (TPO)," provides more limited relief and remains in effect for a shorter period of time. A TPO is ordered in connection with a criminal domestic violence case. It may order the abuser not to commit any further acts of abuse and to stay away from the victim, her residence, her business, her place of employment or her school and other conditions specifically directed toward assuring the safety and protection of the victim.

But a TPO cannot contain any orders for child support, spousal support, awarding use of an automobile or personal property, awarding child custody or visitation, or directing the abuser to obtain counseling.

If a person is found to violate a protective order, he or she could he or she can be jailed and charged with a separate crime including aggravated stalking.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Ohio's restraining order laws. See Harassment, Restraining Orders, and Filing a Domestic Violence Lawsuit for more information.

Code Sections Ohio Revised Statute 2919.27 et seq.
Relationship Requirement

You may be eligible to file a restraining order against:

  • Your current or former spouse;
  • Someone with whom you have a child in common;
  • Someone you are dating or used to date;
  • Anyone who lives in your home or has lived in your home.
Type of Orders

Civil Protection Orders (CPO) and Temporary Protection Orders (TPO)

Length of CPO

Up to five (5) years from the date of issuance

Length of a TPO

Throughout the duration of the criminal case, usually a few months

How to Apply

CPO: File a petition in court

TPO: Either by filing a petition in court, at the request of the district attorney, or a law enforcement officer in connection with a criminal case

Penalty for Violations

First conviction: First degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Second and subsequent convictions: Fifth degree felony punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.

Resources

Because domestic laws can sometimes get complicated, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced Ohio domestic violence lawyer or an Ohio legal aid service provider if you have questions about your specific situation.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.