How Do I Remove a Criminal Protective Order (CPO) in California?

December 05, 2022 by Seppi Esfandi in California  Criminal Defense  
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Court-Ordered Criminal Protective Orders

A court might issue an order known as a Criminal Protective Order to ensure the safety of a witness or victim of a crime. It follows an Emergency Protective Order and may be issued simultaneously. The restrained one is instructed to avoid contact and refrain from harming or threatening the detained person.

As a rule, CPOs fall into one of two categories. Individuals subject to a “No Contact” order are expected to avoid any contact with the protected party. An alternative is for a CPO to allow contact between the defendant and the protected person, but only if such communication is completely peaceful. We refer to these directives as “Peaceful Contact” instructions. Additional changes may be made to a CPO at the judge’s discretion to meet unique concerns in each situation.

Any other restraining order is null and void in the face of a Criminal Protective Order. A CPO, for instance, is the principal order that must be followed, even above a restraining order. It is possible to seek additional charges and re-arrest the offender if the protective order is broken.

Is it possible to have a CPO overturned, dismissed, or canceled?

A criminal protection order may be withdrawn, dismissed, or terminated under certain circumstances. However, a certain protocol must be followed to guarantee that the party seeking the lift or removal is not in breach of the restraining order. For a person to be free to resume contact with another without violating the provisions of a restraining order, the order must first be lifted by the court. The duration of most restraining orders, for instance, is specified. The restraining order may be lifted if no side renews or seeks an extension before the deadline.

If the restraining order does not specify a period or a party seeks to have it lifted before its expiration date, the court must file a request. A request to vacate a restraining order may go by a few different names, but they all need that the following to be included:

  • Identifying information for the parties involved;
  • the date the restraining order was issued by the court; and
  • Justifications for terminating the restraining order, if any.

The victim (or the person who first obtained the restraining order) must consent to the removal of the order without duress. Following a hearing, the court will decide whether to lift the restraining order or not based on the facts given.

How Can I Get My CPO Lifted?

The removal motion itself is generally the first piece of documentation needed to get rid of a restraining order. Some court systems make standardized forms for filing motions accessible online, while many states also provide their forms.

It’s worth noting that the move can come with a filing charge. However, the filing costs for the order itself may be waived in certain areas. You’ll need to prove your case if you want a CPO lifted. The court can better assess whether or not it is in the best interests of all parties involved to remove the order with this material in hand.
The court might take into consideration evidence such as:

  • Statements made by others (such as written affidavits or spoken testimony at the hearing);
  • Evidence of child visitation or custody regulations, if relevant; and
  • Any documents from parole, probation officials, or other law enforcement agencies if the individual’s criminal history is at issue.

The restraining order’s subject (the one who must remain away or refrain from doing anything) should provide evidence of good conduct. Both proofs of compliance with the current restraining order and proof that the order is unnecessary will suffice.

How to Modify a CPO in California

Though filing a “Petition for Modification of a Criminal Protective Order” with the court, the protected person or the person being held back can ask the court to change the terms of their CPO. Restraining orders can be changed to make the level of protection stronger or weaker.

Some things that can be changed are:

  • Not being able to talk to people in person, online, on paper, or by phone
  • No third party other than an attorney can talk to the protected person.
  • You can’t get within a certain distance of someone who is protected.

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