So you just got served notice to appear for hearing and order to appear in Court. Attached to the notice is a petition and affidavit for a civil protection order.
Do not start to lose your mind. The fact that you are reading this blog tells me that you have searched the web for any information regarding civil protection orders in the District of Columbia. This is not the end of the world and remember this is a civil case not a criminal case. HUGE difference.
Call an Attorney
Civil protection orders are not rocket science. It does, however, require knowledge of the system and how it works. Although civil orders are not criminal they can have substantial collateral consequences similar to criminal consequences. For example, if a civil protection order is issued it may be unlawful to possess a firearm even if firearm possession is legal in your state.
What happens at the hearing?
There are number things that can happen at the hearing. The following are possible outcomes:
(1) Have a hearing before a Judge in DC Superior Court. If the Judge finds that an intrafamily offense has occurred as defined in the District of Columbia Code, you will have a court order requiring you to do certain things.
(2) The Petitioner may not show and the case could be dismissed for want of prosecution.
(3) A separate agreement (outside of court) can be reached with the Petitioner where the Petitioner agrees to dismiss the case with certain conditions met.
(4) No admissions consent to the Court Order.
FAILURE TO APPEAR
You do not want to ignore this notice. Failure to appear the Judge WILL ISSUE a bench warrant and a default for a civil protection order.