Lifting a restraining order off boyfriend in a domestic violence case?

October 26, 2016

The following question was posted today on Avvo.com: (Here's a link to the full question.)

 

[I]f the DA put a restraining order on my boyfriend [in a domestic violence] case[,] [h]ow do I get the restraining order lifted? My boyfriend was seen kicking me ... and was arrested. I did not press charges, but the DA did ... .

 

This was my answer:

 

... [T]he judge technically issued a Criminal Protective Order (CPO), which is a restraining order in criminal cases. This was likely the result of the Deputy District Attorney in court requesting a CPO be imposed against your boyfriend; however, it's possible the judge did so on his or her own. In domestic violence cases, CPOs are almost always ordered. Also, [...] it does not matter whether you did not want to press charges. In fact, the majority of domestic violence cases filed in court involve victims that did not want charges filed. Ultimately, in most criminal cases, the District Attorney alone decides to file charges.

 

It is important to understand that there are two main kinds of CPOs—"no contact" orders and "peaceful contact" orders. A "no contact" CPO, which is likely what the judge ordered here, is what it sounds like—that is, your boyfriend is not permitted to contact you in any form. That means he must move out, he can't text you, he can't have a friend contact you on his behalf, etc.

 

A "peaceful contact" CPO, however, does not prohibit your boyfriend from contacting you. In fact, if you two live together, he can continue to live with you. What he cannot do, in sum, is harass you in any way. He must behave peacefully. And, if he doesn't, you can call the police and have him arrested.

 

To more directly answer your question, here is what you can do regarding the current CPO in place. You can ask the judge for the "no contact" order to be converted to a "peaceful contact" order. You can ask for the judge to rescind the order altogether, but that's an unrealistic request based on what you've mentioned about the case. Yes, contacting your boyfriend's attorney to help facilitate this is certainly an option. But, it's not necessary. You can also speak to a Victim/Witness Coordinator at the District Attorney's Office about requesting a peaceful contact order. If nothing else, go to court when your boyfriend is scheduled to appear, and tell his attorney and/or the DA in court about your request. The judge may ask you questions in open court, on the record, so be prepared to speak up.

 

Lastly, just because you make this request does not mean a judge must grant it. Certainly if your boyfriend's case gets filed as a felony, your request will likely be denied. But, even if it's a misdemeanor, there is no guarantee at all that a judge will be convinced your boyfriend no longer poses a threat to you. The judge will consider, among other things, not just the allegations in the present case, but also your boyfriend's criminal history, if he has any.

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