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Legal Information: District of Columbia

Statutes: District of Columbia

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Updated: 
July 13, 2021

§ 16-1004. Petition; notice; temporary order.

(a) Parties served with notice in accordance with § 16-1007 shall appear at the hearing.

(a-1)(1) In a case in which the Attorney General intervenes pursuant to section 16-1003(f)(1)(A), the petitioner is not a required party.

(2) In a case in which an individual described in § 16-1003(d)(1) petitioned on behalf of a minor petitioner under the age of 13, the minor petitioner is not a required party.

(3) In a hearing under this section, if a parent, guardian, custodian, or other appropriate adult has petitioned for a civil protection order on behalf of a minor petitioner 13 years of age or older, the court shall consider the expressed wishes of the minor petitioner in deciding whether to issue an order pursuant to this section and in determining the contents of such an order.

(b) Notwithstanding section 14-306, in a hearing under this section, one spouse shall be a competent and compellable witness against the other and may testify as to confidential communications, but testimony compelled over a claim of a privilege conferred by such section shall be inadmissible in evidence in a criminal trial over the objection of a spouse entitled to claim that privilege.

(c) If, after a hearing, the judicial officer finds that there is good cause to believe the respondent has committed or threatened to commit a criminal offense against the petitioner or an animal the petitioner owns, possesses, or controls, or with the consent of both parties, the judicial officer may issue a civil protection order that:

(1) Directs the respondent to refrain from committing or threatening to commit criminal offenses against the petitioner and other individuals specified in the order;

(2) Requires the respondent to stay away from or have no contact with the petitioner and any other individuals or locations specified in the order;

(3) Requires the respondent to participate in psychiatric or medical treatment or appropriate counseling programs;

(4) Directs the respondent to refrain from entering, or to vacate, the dwelling unit of the petitioner when the dwelling is:

(A) Marital property of the parties;

(B) Jointly owned, leased, or rented and occupied by both parties; provided, that joint occupancy shall not be required if the respondent’s actions caused the petitioner to relinquish occupancy;

(C) Owned, leased, or rented by the petitioner individually; or

(D) Jointly owned, leased, or rented by the petitioner and a person other than the respondent;

(5) Directs the respondent to relinquish possession or use of certain personal property owned jointly by the parties or by the petitioner individually;

(6) Awards temporary custody of a minor child or children of the parties, provided that:

(A) If, after the hearing on the civil protection order, the judicial officer finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a contestant for custody has committed an intrafamily offense, any determination that custody is to be granted to the contestant who has committed the intrafamily offense shall be supported by a written statement by the judicial officer specifying factors and findings that support that determination; and

(B) The parent who has committed the intrafamily offense shall have the burden of proving that custody will not endanger the child or significantly impair the child’s emotional development;

(7) Provides for visitation rights with appropriate restrictions to protect the safety of the petitioner, provided that:

(A) If, after the hearing on the civil protection order, the judicial officer finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a parent seeking visitation has committed an intrafamily offense, any determination that visitation is to be awarded to the parent who has committed the intrafamily offense shall be supported by a written statement by the judicial officer specifying factors and findings that support that determination, including how the child and custodial parent can be adequately protected from harm inflicted by the parent who has committed the intrafamily offense; and

(B) The parent who has committed the intrafamily offense shall have the burden of proving that visitation will not endanger the child or significantly impair the child’s emotional development;

(8) Awards costs and attorney fees;

(9) Orders the Metropolitan Police Department to take such action as the judicial officer deems necessary to enforce its orders;

(10) Directs the respondent to relinquish possession of any firearms or ammunition and prohibits the respondent from having possession or control of, purchasing, or receiving any firearm or ammunition while the protection order is in effect.

(10A) In connection with an animal owned, possessed, or controlled by the petitioner:

(A) Directs the ownership, possession, or control of the animal; or

(B) Orders the respondent to stay away from the animal and refrain from possessing, controlling, harming or threatening to harm, or otherwise disposing of the animal.

(11) Directs the respondent to perform or refrain from other actions as may be appropriate to the effective resolution of the matter; or

(12) Combines 2 or more of the preceding provisions.

(c-1) Repealed.

(d) A civil protection order issued pursuant to this section shall remain in effect for an initial period not to exceed 2 years.

(d-1)(1) A judicial officer may, upon motion of any party to the original proceeding, extend, modify, or vacate an order for good cause shown.

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection, a finding that an order has been violated is not necessary for a finding of good cause to modify or extend an order.

(3) For each request for an extension, the judicial officer may extend an order for the period of time the judicial officer deems appropriate, but before granting any single extension longer than 2 years, the judicial officer shall find:

(A) That the respondent has violated the civil protection order;

(B) That prior to obtaining the order being extended, the petitioner had previously obtained a civil protection order or foreign protection order as that term is defined in subchapter IV of this chapter against the same respondent; or

(C) Other compelling circumstances related to the petitioner’s safety or welfare.

(e) Any final order issued pursuant to this section and any order granting or denying a motion to extend, modify, or vacate such order shall be appealable.

(f)(1) Violation of any temporary protection order or civil protection order issued under this subchapter, or violation in the District of Columbia of any valid foreign protection order, as that term is defined in subchapter IV of this chapter, or respondent’s failure to appear as required by subsection (a) of this section, shall be punishable as criminal contempt.

(2) Upon conviction, criminal contempt shall be punished by a fine of not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, imprisonment for not more than 180 days, or both.

(g)(1) Violation of any temporary protection order or civil protection order issued under this subchapter, or violation in the District of Columbia of any valid foreign protection order, as that term is defined in subchapter IV of this chapter, shall be chargeable as a misdemeanor.

(2) Upon conviction, violation of a temporary protection order, civil protection order, or a valid foreign protection order shall be punished by a fine of not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, imprisonment for not more than 180 days, or both.

(g-1)(1) No person shall be found to violate a temporary protection order, civil protection order, or valid foreign protection order as described in subsection (f)(1) or (g)(1) of this section, unless the person was personally served with or received actual notice of the temporary protection order, civil protection order, or valid foreign protection order.

(2) Enforcement proceedings under subsection (f) or (g) of this section in which the respondent is a child, as that term is defined in § 16-2301(3), shall be governed by subchapter I of Chapter 23 of this title.

(h) For purposes of establishing a violation under subsections (f) and (g) of this section, an oral or written statement made by a person located outside the District of Columbia to a person located in the District of Columbia by means of telecommunication, mail, or any other method of communication shall be deemed to be made in the District of Columbia.

(i) Violations of protection orders entered with the consent of the respondent but without an admission that the conduct occurred shall be punishable under subsection (f), (g), or (g-1) of this section.