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What is the Difference Between EPO and DVO?

In Kentucky, certain individuals may request the Court to grant Protective Orders to restrain contact by those in fear.  When a spouse, relative, parent or roommate file for a protective order, they may be granted an EPO, Emergency Protective Order.  The EPO is based solely on the affidavit of the person filing and can be put in place for up to fourteen (14) days.  An EPO can, and often do, include provisions of no contact, exclusive use of residence, temporary custody and 500 foot restrictions. The person against whom the EPO is granted is entitled to a hearing on the initial allegations.  This hearing is generally held within 14 days of the initial EPO, but can be extended if there is a problem serving the Defendant with paperwork.  The hearing is in open court and both parties are permitted to have counsel and call witnesses.  The court must then decide if the Plaintiff has proven the justification for a DVO by a preponderance of evidence.  Sworn statements may be sufficient for the court to decide, but allegations must include actual violence or threat of physical violence or death. After the hearing, the Court may issue a Domestic Violence Order, or DVO, granting certain restrictions.  The restrictions may include those contained in the EPO or may be more or less restrictive.  The DVO may be placed by the Courts for up to three (3) years, and may be continued in 3 year increments if the court believes that a threat or fear still exists. Both EPO and DVO involves restrictions of constitutional rights.  Those include the right to bear arms, right to own and possess a firearm, the right to free association, right to freely assemble and go to places of your choosing.  Additionally, violation of the terms of the DVO or EPO can lead to contempt charges, criminal charges and incarceration.  A Defendant is prohibited from possessing a firearm or handgun during the term of the EPO or DVO. If an EPO has been granted, you will be required to attend the hearing.  Due to the short timeframe between service and the hearing, you should contact an attorney ASAP.  For consultation in Northern Kentucky, call Bouldin Law Firm at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected].

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