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 or 859-581-6453.

{ 106 comments… read them below or add one }

j.t August 29, 2013 at 8:04 pm

im trying to get another job but having trouble i live in ohio i had a history report sent to me from louisville it says violation of an epo/dvo ***obsolete code ** post 7/7/99 arrest 1 charge 1 then theres another one violation of a kentucky epo/dvo it says ROR i dont know what that means is this a feloney can i get it off i wasnt guilty but the attorney i hired said i should plead guilty to keep me out of jail

mbouldin August 30, 2013 at 11:26 am

ROR means “released on own recognizance” and relates to bond. The EPO/DVO violation is a misdemeanor. You were likely put on 2 years CD time, equivalent to non-reporting probation. If you have had no charges since that time, you are eligible for expungement since 5 years have elapsed since your CD time terminated (7 years total). If your conviction was in Northern Kentucky, I can assist you in filing for expungement.

K September 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm

My fiance and I had a verbal argument on the side of the road of 275. It was a joking argument about me saying I needed to lose weight. I felt sick so I got some fresh air out of the truck. People driving by saw me on the ground. I had a seizure because Im epileptic. My fiance was only helping me up. “Witnesses” called the police and said he was assaulting me. I told the cops he had never hit me. Now we both have to stay 500 feet away. He was charged with assault fourth degree domestic no visable injuries. I don’t want to file charges. He never did anything. It was a big misunderstanding and he was simply just helping from the ground after a seizure. Please help. Neither one of us want EPO’s on each other or charges filed.

mbouldin September 17, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Sounds like a “not guilty” to me. Call the office. If he has court before you get in, just plead not guilty and they will set for pretrial conference. Tell them that you are hiring an attorney.

Shan March 5, 2014 at 5:24 pm

My boyfriend got caught with a handgun along with other charges he got out on property Bond than we had got into a argument where he has a no violence order on him he didn’t hit me but he charge at me and the police violated me how long will he get

Michael Bouldin March 6, 2014 at 9:39 am

It is impossible to determine from these facts. He should hire a criminal defense attorney to help him with the charges. (and PV?) Most times negotiations prove most beneficial the earlier you involve a lawyer. Call or email my office for consultation. 581-6453 or

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