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Domestic Violence and Emergency Protective Orders in Kentucky

In Kentucky the Emergency Protective Orders (EPO) are temporary orders  of protection which will lead to a Domestic Violence hearing.  The EPO is granted based only on the sworn statement of the victim.  The domestic violence hearing is intended to allow both parties to be present and present evidence prior to granting a more permanent Domestic Violence Order (DVO). Domestic Violence Orders can initially be issued for up to 3 years.  They can also be extended in three (3) year increments but only if the Petitioner requests extension prior to the DVO expiration.  In the extension, the Petitioner must allege grounds for the DVO to continue.  The initial grounds of the DVO are insufficient for an extension without any new allegations or violations. A DVO is not a criminal charge.  There are times when a separate criminal charge of assault is filed together with the DVO, but the EPO/DVO itself is not a criminal charge.  If an DVO is granted, the Defendant does not have a criminal conviction.  I'm often asked why a DVO will show up on a criminal background check and the simple answer is, "because it does."  A DVO is a civil claim and the judge does not have authority to issue fine or jail sentence if granted, absent a separate criminal conviction. A DVO can and does significantly limit a person's civil liberties and rights.  If a DVO is granted, the Defendant cannot own, possess or carry firearms, deleting your second amendment right to bear arms.  Further, the defendant is often precluded from being within 500 feet of the victim, which abridges your first amendment rights of association.  The defendant is also not allowed to be near the Plaintiff/Petitioner during the term that the order is issued.  This may prevent them from being at their own home or place of employment. If you have not committed domestic violence, it is urged to challenge the issuance of any order.  The best way to challenge is to hire an attorney who regularly handles these types of actions.  Even though they are not criminal, many criminal lawyers routinely handle DVO hearings.  Also, many family practitioners handle DVO hearings whether or not they practice criminal law.  There is no prosecutor and often litigants appear unrepresented.  If you have questions about an EPO and are facing a DV hearing, contact an attorney to know your rights.  For a consultation in Boone, Campbell or Kenton counties, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected]  Call 581-MIKE today.

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