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On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2023 | Protection Order

Temporary Protection (TPO) Procedures in South Dakota Courts and the Defense Against TPOs

Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects many families in South Dakota. In some cases, victims may need immediate protection from their abuser, which is where Temporary Protection Orders (TPOs) come into play. On the other hand, the accused may have their rights violated if a TPO is issued without sufficient evidence. In this article, we will examine the procedures for obtaining and defending against TPOs in South Dakota courts.

What is a Temporary Protection Order (TPO)?

A Temporary Protection Order (TPO) is a court order that provides immediate protection to victims of domestic violence. The order requires the accused to refrain from any form of abuse, harassment, or contact with the victim. TPOs are typically issued on an emergency basis, and are meant to provide temporary protection until a more permanent solution can be reached.

How to Obtain a Temporary Protection Order (TPO)

To obtain a TPO in South Dakota, the victim must file a petition in the appropriate court. The petition must explain the circumstances of the abuse and why the victim is in need of protection. The court will then consider the petition and decide whether to grant a TPO.

In most cases, the victim will be required to attend a hearing, where the court will hear testimony from both the victim and the accused. The victim may also be required to provide evidence of the abuse, such as photos, medical records, or eyewitness testimony.

The court may grant a TPO if it finds that the victim is in immediate danger of harm. The TPO will typically remain in effect for a limited period of time, usually around 30 days, and may be extended if necessary if a hearing for a more permanent order cannot be held within that time frame.

Defending Against a Temporary Protection Order (TPO)

If you have been accused of domestic violence and a TPO has been issued against you, it is important to defend yourself. You have the right to present evidence and testimony in court to show that the TPO is not justified. Some common defenses against TPOs include:

  1. Lack of Evidence: The court may not grant a TPO if the evidence against you is not sufficient to prove that you are a danger to the victim.
  2. False Accusations: In some cases, TPOs may be based on false accusations made by the victim. You can present evidence to show that the accusations are not true.
  3. Insufficient Danger: The court may not grant a TPO if it finds that the victim is not in immediate danger of harm.
  4. Unlawful TPO: The court may not grant a TPO if it is based on evidence that was obtained illegally or if the TPO violates your constitutional rights.

Enforcing a Temporary Protection Order (TPO)

Once a TPO has been issued, it is important to enforce it. If the accused violates the TPO, they may be arrested and charged with the crime of violation of protection order (VPO). If a person gets Three convictions in a 10 year period of time, the 3 Violation of protection order can and most likely be charged as a felony.


Temporary Protection Orders (TPOs) are an important tool for victims of domestic violence in South Dakota. However, it is also important to remember that the accused has the right to a fair hearing and to present evidence in court. If you have been accused of domestic violence and a TPO has been issued against you, it is important to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend your rights. Attorney Sonny Walter has successfully defended many TPO’s over the course of his career.