Can the abuser have a gun?
Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession. There are a few places where you can find this information:
- first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Ohio have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
- second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
- third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.
You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website.
What should I do when I leave the courthouse?
Here are some things you may want to consider doing. However, you will have to evaluate each one to see if it works for your situation.
- Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave.
- If you are concerned that the abuser will harass you when you leave the courthouse, ask the court officer if s/he would escort you to the door of the building. If you are afraid the abuser may follow you once you leave the courthouse, explain this to the court officer. The court officer might hold the abuser there for a few minutes while you leave so that you can get a head start , which would make it difficult for the abuser to trail you. This could be especially important if you are living in a shelter or confidential location and you do not want the abuser to know where you are staying.
- Make several copies of the injunction as soon as possible.
- Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
- Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
- Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live or work along with a photo of the abuser.
- Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
- If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
- You may wish to consider changing your locks, if permitted by law, and your phone number.
Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order. People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many batterers obey restraining orders, but some do not. It is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Click on the following link for suggestions on Safety Tips. Advocates at local domestic violence programs can also assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support as well.
I was not granted a protection order. What are my options?
If you are not granted a protection order, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They can help you develop a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. For safety planning help, ideas, and information, go to our Safety Planning page. You will find a list of resources on our Ohio Places that Help page.
If you were not granted an CPO because your relationship with the abuser does not qualify, you may be able to seek protection through a Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Orders.
You may also be able to reapply for a CPO if a new incident of domestic abuse occurs after you are denied the order.
If you believe the judge made an error of law, you can talk to someone at a domestic violence organization or a lawyer about the possibility of an appeal. Generally, appeals are complicated and you will most likely need the help of a lawyer.
What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
If the defendant violates the CPO, you can call 911 to report it to law enforcement if that is a safe option for you. In some cases, the defendant can be arrested right away. You can read about under what circumstances a violation would be a misdemeanor versus a felony on our Selected Ohio Statutes page. If found guilty of a violation of a CPO, the defendant can be put in jail and/or fined.1 Even if the abuser is not arrested, it is important to ask the police to file a report – and to get a copy of the report– so that you have documentation.
Note: If the abuser is prosecuted for violating the order, the prosecutor does not have to prove that the protection order was served on the defendant personally. The prosecutor only has to prove that either:
- the defendant was shown a copy of the protection order; or
- a judge, magistrate, or law enforcement officer informed the defendant that a protection order had been issued.1
Another way to enforce a CPO can be to go back to the court that issued the order and file for civil contempt for a violation of the order. The abuser can be found to be in contempt if s/he does anything that your CPO orders him or her not to do. To file for civil contempt, you can use this form for a Motion for Contempt of a Domestic Violence or Dating Violence Civil Protection Order from the Supreme Court of Ohio.
For more information about contempt, including the difference between criminal contempt and civil contempt, go to our general Domestic Violence Restraining Orders page.
1 Ohio Rev. Code § 2919.27(D)
How do I extend my civil protection order?
You may go to the court to have your order extended for up to an additional five years.1 You will probably have to go to a short hearing to tell a judge why you need it extended. You should start the process before your first order expires, so that you are not left unprotected. If you wait until your first order expires, you may have to begin the process all over again.
1 Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(E)(3)(c); see also City of Columbus website
What happens if I move? Is the order still enforceable?
Your civil protection order is enforceable in all U.S. states and territories. The law requires that all other states give “full faith and credit” to the order, meaning that it will be enforced just like it would be in Ohio. However, each state has its own laws and procedures.
Any person with a valid protection order (an order that has not expired) who relocates to another state may want to inquire at a court or law enforcement agency for instructions on the registration and enforcement of orders in that state. For more information, see our Moving to Another State with Your Ohio Protection Order page.
If I get a protection order, will it show up in an internet search?
According to federal law, which applies to all states, territories, and tribal lands, the courts are not supposed to make available publicly on the internet any information that would be likely to reveal your identity or location. This applies to all of these documents:
- the petition you file;
- the protection order, restraining order, or injunction that was issued by the court; or
- the registration of an order in a different state.1
1 18 USC § 2265(d)(3)