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Navigating a Protective Order and Criminal Case Simultaneously

How to Defend Against a Protective Order Issued During a Criminal Case in Oregon

At Mark C. Cogan, P.C., our experienced restraining order defense attorneys in Oregon know that a protective order often stems from a criminal case that is occurring at the same time.

An example may include:

Jodi and Kelly are domestic intimate partners that live together. Jodi and Kelly get into a fight and Kelly alleges that Jodi slaps her, injuring her eardrum. Kelly further alleges that Jodi has been abusive for years. Kelly calls the police and tells them about the most recent incident. The DA’s Office decides to bring charges and Jodi is served with a warrant for her arrest for Assault in the Fourth Degree – a criminal charge. Kelly also files a petition for a Family Abuse Prevention Act protective order. A Judge hears her allegations and grants a temporary protective order. Jodi is also served with a notice that Kelly has filed a protective order against her – a civil order.

This guide will help you understand how, in a situation like this, how the two cases may and may not relate, and how strategic decisions you and your attorney make will help your case.

What is the Relationship Between a Criminal Case and Civil Protective Order in Oregon?

Clients facing both a criminal charge and a civil protective order often combine the processes.

However, it is important to know that they are totally separate proceedings.

One does not necessarily depend upon the other.

For example, if a respondent successfully gets the civil protective order dismissed, that will have no impact on whether the District Attorney’s Office drops the criminal charges.

The stakes are also hugely different in the two types of proceedings. A criminal case can result in a criminal conviction on your record and potential jail and probation. A civil protective order, by contrast, does not threaten any jail time but may instead result in a no-contact order with a person or place.

This does not mean that the two types of cases are totally unrelated, however. They interact in a few key ways.

How a Civil Protective Order Hearing Can Provide Insight for the Criminal Proceedings

A civil protective order case may provide invaluable testimony for a subsequent criminal case.

Because the criminal case often has far greater stakes, which could include jail time if the accused is convicted, the civil case can be a good opportunity to preview the issues for the criminal matter.

Take our example above involving Kelly and Jodi: in that case, it may be very instructive for Jodi (the respondent) to hear Kelly’s (the petitioner) testimony at the civil protective order hearing and cross-examine her on key issues.

Why? Because those same issues may be at play in the criminal trial where Kelly is the alleged victim and Jodi is the defendant. Jodi in this scenario would have the benefit of hearing precisely what type of testimony and evidence is likely to be used against her in a criminal trial. This can be a game-changer for trial preparations and in some cases even affect the decision of whether to go.

Should the Protective Order Respondent Testify at the Hearing?

The statements made at the civil protective order hearing are statements made under oath.

Depending on the circumstances, these may be used against that same person in a subsequent criminal trial. For example, if a defendant in a criminal trial says something happened one way but said it happened another way in the prior civil proceeding, that could be used to attack the defendant’s credibility. An attorney will help analyze the possible risks of their client testifying in these circumstances.

What Happens if the Protective Order Petitioner & Respondent Reach a Settlement?

Concurrent criminal and civil proceedings may present an opportunity for settlement.

In many cases, the two different proceedings have overlapping conditions placed on the defendant/respondent, respectively. Taking our same example from above, imagine that Jodi is considering whether to go to trial or take a plea deal on the criminal case.

As part of the plea deal, Jodi may be required to have no contact with the alleged victim (Kelly) and engage in domestic violence classes and other forms of treatment. An attorney may be able to negotiate with Kelly on the civil protective order case by pointing out that the purpose of the protective order – that is, that Jodi not be allowed to have contact with Kelly – is largely moot if Jodi takes a plea agreement on the criminal matter.

As such, Kelly may be convinced that all parties will save time, emotional energy, and money if she dismisses the protective order – a win-win.

Depending on the circumstances, a skilled protective order attorney in Oregon may be able to finesse a negotiated settlement by using the two concurrent proceedings to their advantage in this way.

Are You Involved in a Criminal Case that Led to a Protective Order in Oregon? We Can Help.

If you have been served with a protective order stemming from criminal charges, and would like to contest it, contact our skilled restraining order lawyers in Oregon at Mark C. Cogan, P.C. at 503-476-3541 or online to discuss your case today. We can help you contest the protective order starting with a free and confidential first consultation. Please contact our criminal attorneys in Portland, OR for more legal help.

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