Amended laws change responsibility for protection order costs and interpreter’s fees

The Ohio Poverty Law Journal reports that changes to Ohio's protection order laws took effect on September 17, 2014. These laws generally offer protection to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or juvenile violence by allowing them to obtain court orders that typically require the perpetrators to have no contact with them, among other possible restrictions. The amendments to the laws, which came about pursuant to Ohio H.B. 309, involve changes related to the payment of fees and costs associated with all types of protection orders, including domestic violence civil protection orders, civil stalking protection orders, civil sexually oriented offense protection orders, juvenile protection orders, criminal protection orders and temporary protection orders.

Specifically, the changes to the law prohibit charging the petitioner on the protection order any fees or costs related to enforcing, modifying, dismissing or withdrawing the order. Also newly prohibited are charges related to witness subpoenas. Prior to passage of H.B. 309 petitioners were not charged with costs or fees for filing protection orders, but could be charged with the other costs that are now prohibited by the amended laws. Courts are now also permitted to charge therespondent or defendant in these matters with the costs and fees associated with the case, whereas under the old law they were not permitted to charge any of the parties with certain costs.

Additionally, H.B. 309 provides that when a party is classified as indigent by the courts the party cannot be charged with costs for interpreter fees. This is a change that applies to parties in all court cases, and is not limited to the protection order cases described above. Click here for analysis of the final bill.