Civil protective orders are designed to protect the plaintiff (the person filing the order) from the defendant (the person against whom the order is filed). Because these orders are through the civil courts, they can be filed before any crime has been committed. In Ohio, there are two types of civil protective orders: the Domestic Violence Protection Order and the Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders
In Ohio, domestic violence can be committed by former or current spouses or domestic partners, those related by blood or marriage, anyone who has lived together for the past five years and people who share a child in common. Under Ohio law, domestic violence includes "attempting to cause or recklessly causing bodily injury, placing another person by the threat of force in fear of imminent serious physical harm, committing an act with respect to a child that would result in the child being abused." Those seeking protection must file either a Petition for Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order (Form 10.01-D), Domestic Violence Ex Parte Civil Protection Order (Form 10.01-H), or if temporary custody of children is involved, Information for Parenting Proceeding Affidavit (Form 10.01-F). Forms are available from the county clerk. Under a Domestic Violence Protective Order, individuals can also obtain temporary custody of children, child or spousal support, an order of property vacation or a no-contact order.
Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Orders
Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Orders (SSOOPOs) can be filed against anyone who has stalked or sexually abused an individual, regardless of existing relationship. SSOOPOs can be filed against someone who has menaced the victim by stalking or committing a sexually oriented offense. Legally, "menacing by stalking" includes two or more actions that cause the individual mental distress or may cause physical harm. Sexually oriented offenses include rape, sexual contact with a minor or drugging before committing a sexual act. These orders protect victims from harm, harassment, stalking and contact, and require electronic monitoring of the offender, but cannot include any judgment for support, custody or property. The victim will need to submit Form 10.03-D for a Civil Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order available from the county clerk.
Getting a Civil Protection Order
To obtain a civil protection order, the individual must file the appropriate paperwork with the county clerk. She will be given a hearing with a judge, who will determine whether to grant an immediate, temporary restraining order, and set a hearing date. The defendant will be served the protection order. At the hearing, the plaintiff and the defendant will be able to explain their stories, and the judge will render a decision based on the information provided.
Ohio state law regarding Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Orders is governed by § 2903.214 of the civil code. Domestic Violence and Domestic Violence Protection Orders are defined and ruled by § 2919, including violation of protective orders (§ 2919.27).
Violating A Protection Order
An individual who violates a civil protection order is in contempt of court. Such a violation is a 1st degree misdemeanor under Ohio law. The offender can be immediately arrested for violating a protection order. Additionally, if the individual violates an SSOOPO with an electronic monitoring requirement, the judge can extend the electronic monitoring for up to five years.