A Civil Stalking Protection Order in Ohio is a civil order designed to protect you from someone harming, attempting to harm, threatening, following, stalking, harassing, contacting, or forcing sexual relations upon you. The petitions are governed by R.C. 2903.214 and are used by the protected person. This is going to usually be the person filing the motion, the Petitioner, and perhaps their family members. The person who responds to the filing is the Respondent.
Who Can Get a Civil Stalking Protection Order?
Civil Stalking Protection Orders in Ohio are available to victims of menacing by stalking or of a sexually oriented offense. Criminal charges are not required. The victim may seek relief on their own or represented by an attorney. We strongly recommend hiring an attorney if you require a protection order. The petition should be filed in the Common Pleas Court where the petitioner resides. Civil Stalking Protection Orders can be Ex Parte (ordered by the court without notice to the Respondent). If there is an Ex Parte order allowed by a Magistrate pursuant to Civil rule 65, a hearing within 10 court days is required. If there is no ex parte order, then it will proceed as a normal civil action. If the petition is granted, the order can last up to 5 years and may be renewed. Objections may be filed after issuance of final appealable order per Civ R. 65.1 and such orders can be appealed if grounds exist.
What Happens in Court if I File for a Civil Stalking Protection Order?
In such a case, the Court, will schedule a hearing at which time the Petitioner must testify as to why the order is needed. The Respondent can show up and fight the order by giving reasons the order is not proper. If granted, a time period of no contact is set by the Court. If denied, the order is dropped. As to the hearing, the Petitioner can make an opening statement summarizing the facts they intend to present. The Respondent can likewise open and also present their version of the facts. The Petitioner is then given the opportunity to testify, call witnesses and present evidence as to why the order should be put in place. The Respondent can cross-examine the petitioner to show why he or she believes parts of the story are incorrect. This scenario can go back and forth until all the arguments and evidence is put forth. After both are done presenting their case, each party can give closing arguments. The court will then make a decision as to the allowance or denial of the order. At the hearing, the petitioner has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence to convince the court to grant the order. (See J.K. v M.K., 2015-Ohio-434). That means the petitioner must produce slightly more evidence then the respondent.
What Happens if the Civil Stalking Protection Order is Violated?
If the Civil Stalking Protection Order is violated, a criminal violation can occur under R. C. 2919.27 or contempt of Court under R.C. 2903.214.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Civil Stalking Protection Order?
We recommend you give us a call if you need a Civil Stalking Protection Order. It is important to have an attorney in order to help you prepare the filing, attend Court as your legal representative, prepare the evidence and argue your case before the Judge. Our attorneys have experience with Civil Stalking Protection Orders. It is not worth the risk of leaving yourself without one if someone is not leaving you alone! Call today at 419-900-0955.