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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Protective Order Violations -- and steps to fight back

In DC, what code controls protective orders?

Let's start with the basics. The following DC Code sections apply to your case: 16-1004, 16-1005, and 16-1006. Generally, a temporary order is given to anyone who claims abuse; a hearing will then be held to determine if the temporary order should be made permanent (CPO). Violation of a protective order results in (among other things):

DC Code 16-1005:
(f) Violation of any temporary or final 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 contempt. Upon conviction, criminal contempt shall be punished by a fine of not more than the amount set forth in [§ 22-3571.01] or imprisonment for not more than 180 days, or both.

(g) Any person who violates any protection order issued under this subchapter, or any person who violates in the District of Columbia any valid foreign protection order, as that term is defined in subchapter IV of this chapter, shall be chargeable with a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than the amount set forth in [§ 22-3571.01] or by imprisonment for not more than 180 days, or both.

The heart of a protective order matter rests in the wording of the initial temporary order. If the temporary prevents contact with family members as well as the your cousin, you have a problem if you contact them. More importantly, however, if you are attempting to use another person (family or not) to threaten or coerce your cousin, that is also a violation.

Proving that the communication with a third person was aimed at the individual protect, however, is a challenge. Merely speaking to the third person about subject of the protective order is not a violation (unless the last paragraph is applicable). In the end, however, the thing to remember is this: keep your mouth shut.

It is difficult to make sweeping statements about all protective order, but clearly something went very wrong. You continue to make things worse by discussing the matter with the subject's family (whether they called you or you called them) or friends. STOP TALKING.

We have successfully defended "third party threats" as NOT being the cause of a violation, so this can be done. Again, you need to carefully review what was said (not what you want people to think you said -- but what you actually said), and then determine a way to show it was not directed at the subject of the protective order.

He said, she said...

Remember also, when charged with a violation of a protective order based on third party contact, be sure to track the path of communication. The more remote, the less likely that an offense occurred. For example, if you spoke to the subject's mother, who then spoke with her son, who spoke with a friend, who told the subject -- very possibly, the information was twisted, and you can poke holes in any statement conveyed.

So what comes next?

You need to sit down with your lawyer and go over the nature of the communication, the cause of why the communication happened, the possible twisting of words, and what constitutes a threat. As an attorney, I have had underlying temporary protective orders thrown out that still resulted in a conviction for a violation during the time the temporary was in place. BE CAREFUL. You really need to stop talking to anyone but your lawyer about this. ANYONE.

Things to look for in order to beat a protective order...

I've included a few pointers below on how to beat a temporary protective order:
  • 1. Keep all records of communications before and after the alleged event.
  • 2. Find witnesses that can attest to your conduct.
  • 3. Get phone records!
  • 4. Demonstrate that you were not the antagonist. It is well established in common law that an individual who comes at you, can not later claim you were assault or harassing them (at that event).
  • 5. Show you were elsewhere on the day or time of the alleged event.
  • 6. More subtle, but equally effective: prove that that individual bringing the claim has an ulterior motive. For example, they want you to do something for them, you refused, so they filed this report.
  • 7. Show that the individual is being paid or received some benefit from filing the report.
  • 8. In your case, show that there was a family influence that made this happen, and that but for the family influence, this would not rise to the level or a protective order incident.
Are you facing a protective order violation charge, or just be charged with a temporary protective order or full hearing? CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY! Protective orders are time sensitive. Call us NOW! 1-800-579-9864.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 Charles Hatley, Esq.
Leigh Snyder, Esq.

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