Modifying a DC Protective Order

When a judge issues a civil protective order and it is still pending, the respondent or the petitioner can file a request to modify the CPO if there is a change in circumstances. For example, a CPO is granted against a respondent that requires them to stay a certain distance away from the petitioner’s job and the respondent moves to a location within 100 yards of the petitioner’s job. The respondent could ask the judge to modify the CPO in a way that allows the respondent to go to work and not be in violation of that condition.

Beyond that, there are many other instances of when a DC protective order can be modified. To discover these instances, consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Protective orders in DC are often complex and nuanced, solidifying the need of a qualified lawyer.

Modifying the Order

It is important to know that protection orders cannot be vacated or modified in DC based on the agreement between the petitioner and the respondent. The petitioner and the respondent cannot negotiate modifications of a court order. Only the judge can modify or vacate a court order.

When a petitioner wants to vacate or withdraw a request for a CPO, the only thing they can do is file a motion with the judge to vacate the protection order. A respondent should not take the petitioner’s word that the CPO is no longer an issue. To vacate or modify a protective order in DC, an individual should obtain assistance by contacting a judge.

Impact on a Criminal Case

Many civil protection orders are not filed in conjunction with a pending criminal case in DC. Sometimes a petitioner files a request for a full protection order. The respondent is never charged with a crime because the standard in a civil protection order is lower than the standard in a criminal case. Even if there is not enough evidence to charge a person with a crime, the petitioner could have enough evidence to get a CPO granted because that standard is lower.

Even though a person does not face criminal charges as a result of a CPO, that does not mean that CPOs are simple or can be easily resolved. When someone is served with a CPO they should contact an attorney immediately. After receiving a CPO, many people have the urge to contact the petitioner. Sometimes people have the urge to file a cross-petition against the other party when they receive a CPO request.

Contacting a Lawyer

Before the respondent attempts to contact or file a cross-petition against the petitioner for their own CPO, they should talk to a lawyer first. Making those filings or trying to reach out to the petitioner could be a criminal charge or could harm a person in a separate criminal case down the road.

Before a person takes any action in response to a CPO, including any sort of modification in DC, they should contact a lawyer first to understand their options. They need to understand what a CPO is and what impact it can have on a criminal case because the impact could be significant.