WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information: District of Columbia

Restraining Orders

View all
Laws current as of April 5, 2024

Step 5: Hearing for a civil protection order

You must show up to your court hearing if you want to get a final protection order. If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary protection order will expire and you will have to start the process over.

You have the right to bring a lawyer to represent you at the hearing. It is a good idea to see a lawyer if you think the abuser will have a lawyer or if you think the abuser will challenge the protection order or if you are also seeking custody or child support.

If the abuser fails to appear in court (“defaults”), the judge may decide to grant you the civil protection order in his/her absence or s/he may decide to reschedule the hearing.

If you both show up at the hearing and the abuser does not consent to having the civil protection order issued, the judge will hold a hearing where you will both be able to present testimony, witnesses, and other evidence. It is generally best to have a lawyer represent you at this hearing to make sure that your rights are fully protected. If the judge finds that the abuser has committed or attempted to commit a crime against you, s/he may grant you a civil protection order.

See our Preparing for Court – By Yourself page in the At the Hearing section for ways you can show the judge that you were abused if you end up representing yourself at the hearing.