Civil Protection Orders in D.C.

A civil protection order (CPO) is a court order that prohibits one person from harassing, threatening or, in some cases, even contacting another person.  Often issued in the context of some type of domestic disturbance, the protective order is usually preceded by a temporary restraining order that serves to protect the person filing the petition until a hearing can be held.  The temporary order can be issued ex parte; that is, with only the petitioning party present.  The protective order can also be issued ex parte if the other side fails to appear after being served with a subpoena.

A person who violates a validly issued CPO can be held criminally liable for contempt of court or subject to other penalties as defined by statute.

Normally filed in the context of a domestic violence case, protective orders in D.C. are normally valid for up to a year, with the possibility of extension upon a showing of good cause.  Contempt of court in D.C. is punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail.

To speak with an attorney with extensive experience both in bringing and in defending against a CPO in Washington, D.C., please contact Jamison Koehler by phone at 202-549-2374 or by email at

Source:  D.C. Code §§ 16-1003. D.C. Code §§ 16-1004.  D.C. Code §§ 16-1005.