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The Law Office of Stephen W. Wolf, LLC

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North Olmsted, Ohio  44070


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Domestic Violence:  Sometimes the defendant is actually the victim

The charges against my client were dismissed on the morning of the jury trial.

Prior to my involvement, my client was charged with domestic violence which was plead down to disorderly conduct.  She was not represented by an attorney.  Big mistake.  She indicated to anyone who would listen that she was the victim, not the boyfriend who had brought the domestic violence charges.  No one believed her.  She had to do anger management, mental health assessments, probation meetings, pay a fine, pay costs, etc.

She was again arrested.  This time she hired me.  I was able to prove to the city that her boyfriend was abusing her.  The abuse was horrific.  By the time the case was brought to trial everyone involved either believed she was the victim or, unable to actually say that, stated "we can't win this case so we are dismissing it".


It is vital that you keep records, recordings, photographs and whatever other documents you can come up with to PROVE your claim.  Most cellular phones will record and in Ohio you can record any discussion as long as you are part of that discussion.

Domestic Violence:  Keeping a couple together

I spent a great deal of time in numerous pretrials laying the groundwork for a husband and wife to come back together as a couple. Ohio's domestic violence laws work well when violence is an issue. Otherwise it works to keep couples apart; providing protection but splitting marriages. Married forty years, K.W. and J.W. never realized the problems that would occur when they called the police. I managed to convince the court they belonged together. From a possible six months in jail and a $1000 maximum fine, K.W. had to do forty hours of community service and pay $122 in court costs.

Enabled daughter brings domestic violence charges against Father

Dad provided well for his 21 year old daughter. He provided her with room and board, paid for her college, paid for her car, paid for the daughter's 2 year old child's room and board, diapers, clothes and other items. Daughter was collecting over $500.00 in child support that Dad never saw. Dad's pay-back? An allegation of domestic violence that cost him three days in jail until he could be arraigned. Dad hired me. Dad had the support of the entire family and I used that support to describe to the prosecutor why the case should not be tried. The case was dismissed at the first pretrial.


Ohio Civil Protection Orders

Obtaining the CPO


Respondent or Petitioner - no matter!





There are two types of civil protection order.  The first is due to domestic violence and is handled in domestic relations courts.  The second is a stalking civil protection order.  That is handled in Common Pleas court.

The Application

Some judges will limit you to the complaint you make on the petition for a civil protection order.  It is critical that this petition be complete and have not only complete reasons, but it should begin to describe the evidence you have and will present to the court.  It is difficult for me to fix this petition after it is filed.  PLEASE, consider hiring counsel before you make the petition.  CALL ME!

Anyone can allege that they need protection from another party.  It could be the wife seeking to be protected from the husband.  It could be a neighbor in need of protection against another neighbor.

The person who wants the order is the petitioner.  The petitioner goes to their county courthouse and makes a application.  Each county's process is different.  Each county has someone assigned to help.

There is an initial screening to insure the application has what is needed.  The court will then issue an "ex-parte" order prohibiting one party, the respondent, from contact with the petitioner.

 Note that there is nothing about the petitioner contacting the respondent.  These only go one way.

The order will be served on the respondent.  The CPO is then in place.

The court will schedule a hearing at which the petitioner must testify as to why the order is needed.  The respondent can show up and fight the order, giving reasons the order is not proper.  If the respondent is successful, the order is dropped.  If not, the order is in place for five years.

The Hearing

The hearing could be before a magistrate or judge.  The hearing can be in a courtroom, a conference room or even in an office.  The petitioner can make an opening statement.  The petitioner summarizes the facts he or she intends to present.  The respondent can likewise open.  The petitioner is then given the opportunity to testify, call witnesses and present evidence as to why the order should be put into place.  The respondent can cross-examine the petitioner to show why he or she believes parts of that story are incorrect.  After cross-examination, the petitioner can then again testify as to the subject matter of the cross examination.  The petitioner can call other witnesses.  After the petitioner, the respondent then has his or her chance to testify.  In like manner, the petitioner can cross-examine and then the respondent can again talk about what was covered in the cross examination.  The respondent can call other witnesses.  After the respondent is finished, each party can give closing statements.  The judge or magistrate makes the decision as to if the CPO will continue.


Respondent or Petitioner - no matter!




Much like trials, you must be prepared!

These hearings are in no way "easy".  They are just as difficult and require just as much preparation as any trial.

No matter if you are petitioner or respondent, you are too close to the issues.  You, alone and without counsel, will be discussing your life as you understood it.  There are a couple of problems here.

First, the judge or magistrate knows nothing about you.  Zero.  You are likely to place emphasis on events that you understand completely because you were there, you knew the context.  You can't leave the judge or magistrate scratching his or her head.

Second, you are trying to provide the judge or magistrate with fact that prove that you qualify for a CPO; you meet the requirements of a CPO.  Your events may be important, and they may speak volumes of why your are right and the other person is wrong, but they may not speak to the requirements for a CPO.

An attorney can take your life and format it so that the events that happened speak to the requirements of either obtaining or defending against a CPO.

An important note about timing

Some courts will refuse to issue a protection order to protect an applicant if there is another order against the applicant.  In other words, the first in the door gets the order.  You can still file a petition to protect yourself.  That will be heard by the court.  You won't walk away with protection until you are successful in the full hearing.  It is not unusual to find that the full hearing is not set for many weeks.


No matter if you are applying for a CPO or defending against one,

take the time to call my office and obtain a free consultation.





Ongoing attack by ex-wife

After my client was able to plea down a domestic violence in Texas, he and his ex-wife were divorced.  He returned to Ohio.  His ex-wife followed.  She filed a request for a domestic violence protection order.  My client went to the hearing but was unable to navigate the legalese and properly defend himself.  He hired me and we returned to show the wife could not provide any reason she should fear harm.  We were able to show JS just wanted to get on with his life.  The order was lifted and they both went their separate ways.

Two brothers pushing at each other over who has the next turn at the Nintendo

Is it domestic violence? Probably. Is it just?

Here the state attempts to assign to one brother a serious crime of violence with significant life-long consequences. Here two young brothers pushed at each other. There were no injuries. Neither wanted the police, or charges, or the arrest and weekend in jail.

The charge was dismissed on the day of trial.