Can You Explain an EPO and DVO?

by on February 6, 2010

In Kentucky, an EPO is an Emergency Protection Order and is granted based solely on the sworn testimony of one witness, often referred to as a victim. Due to the emergency nature of an EPO, it is only granted for a maximum of 14 days. This allows the person accused to be given an opportunity to be heard by the judge before a more permanent order can be entered.

Within the 14 days, the Court will schedule the matter for a hearing to determine whether or not to grant a DVO, or Domestic Violence Order. A DVO can be entered for a period of up to 3 years and can be extended thereafter upon motion of the victim.

While not technically criminal, a DVO has many criminal like consequences. For example, if a DVO is granted, the accused will not be allowed to own, possess or carry a firearm during the period of the DVO. Additionally, the DVO appears on a police officer’s computer if a history is reviewed. A violation of a DVO is a criminal offense, no matter how minor the infraction.

Often people mistakenly believe that a DVO is mutual or that a victim can waive the protection. Both are false: if a DVO is entered against you and you are in violation – you go to jail. It does not matter if the victim called you or placed you in the position of violating (being within 500 feet), the DVO does not apply to the victim.

In order to change the terms of a DVO, a victim must seek a dismissal or modification by the Court which originally entered the DVO. The Court is not required, but often will grant the modification. The accused should be skeptical of any request to meet or otherwise violate a DVO and should not allow themselves to be in such a position unless the DVO is dismissed or modified.

If you have been charged with Domestic Violence or wish to know your rights about modifying a DVO, in Northern Kentucky contact attorney Michael W. Bouldin at mwbouldin@fuse.net or 859-581-6453.

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