Differences Between Restraining and Protection Orders in Wyoming
Depending on the situation, a court may implement a restraining or protection order to prevent a particular person from doing something to someone else. Despite some similarities, these two types of orders have different purposes in Wyoming and are issued under different circumstances.
What Is a Restraining Order?
Restraining orders are issued in domestic violence cases. A domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) is issued by the court to protect a person (protected person) from abuse from someone with whom the protected person has had a close relationship (restrained person). DVROs are usually civil, unless the restrained person is facing criminal charges of domestic violence. These orders are also granted in paternity cases and to people going through legal separation or divorce.
What Is a Protection Order?
In contrast to restraining orders, which are more common in domestic violence cases and family law courts, a criminal protective order (CPO) is issued by a criminal court in order to protect victims of a crime or witnesses of a crime. During a criminal investigation, law enforcement may request a CPO from a court in order to ensure that victims and witnesses are safe from reprisal, such as intimidation, harassment, or violence, before and during a trial. CPO’s are considered a priority in a criminal court and will take precedence over a civil restraining order. This means that if the conditions of a civil restraining order conflict with the conditions of a criminal protective order, the CPO must be followed.
The Terms of Each Order
A restraining order limits the distance between a restrained person and the protected person. If the restrained person steps within those limits, he or she can be held in violation of the restraining order, which can result in being arrested and criminal charges. The maximum duration for this type of order is three months, although it may be extended for an additional three months. Penalties for willful violation of a restraining order may include jail time of up to six months, or a fine of $750, or both.
Prosecuting attorneys will file in court for a criminal protective order to protect victims and witnesses. These orders may be issued in criminal cases of assault or battery, stalking, sexual abuse, vandalism, or destruction of property. Each order is subject to a different duration depending on the circumstances of the investigation. Generally, CPO’s for victims and witnesses will last for three years or until the defendant is convicted and sentenced, whichever comes first.
However, in cases of a sex offense or domestic violence, the CPO can last for ten years and will remain in effect while the defendant is in jail or prison. Violating a CPO carries the same consequences as violating a restraining order, except a second or subsequent violation within seven years can mean jail time of up to three years.
Know Your Rights
If you are under a restraining order or a criminal protective order and need legal assistance, contact Steven Titus & Associates, P.C. at (307) 257-7800 to schedule a free case strategy session. Our Gillette criminal defense attorneys are known for our experience and results. We understand what you are going through, and we are always available to our clients.
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