Orders Of Protection
Orders of Protection are designed to protect individuals who have allegedly been the victim of a crime or family offense. They can be issued in two ways; Criminal Court or Family Court. Criminal Court will issue one after an arrest as a condition of release and arraignment for assault, domestic violence or other types of crimes against a person. Family Court will issue one when someone alleges that a family offense has been committed against him or her by a spouse, partner or another family member. Criminal charges are not necessary to obtain an order of protection from family court.
In both Criminal and Family Court there are two types of Orders of Protections that can be issued. The first type of Order of Protection is a Full Stay-Away Order. This type prohibits any contact with the alleged victim. If a Full Stay-Away Order of Protection has been issued against you, you may be forced to move out of your home and are prohibited from contacting the alleged victim by email, phone, texting or through a third party. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may also be prohibited from seeing or even contacting your children. Your only option to see your children would be to file a visitation petition in Family Court.
The second type of Order of Protection is a Limited Order of Protection. This is a less restrictive court order and may allow a person to communicate with the alleged victim with the understanding that you will not assault, threaten, harass, stalk or intimidate him or her.
Regardless of which court issues the order, violating an Order of Protection often times is charged as a felony. Those types of cases can be very dangerous for a client and unfortunately happen relatively frequently. A person can be arrested even for accidentally showing up at the same place as the alleged victim. Even if the alleged victim tries dropping the charges with the District Attorney’s Office, felony contempt charges are still often pursued.
Many of our clients have been charged with a violation of an Order of Protection yet have no awareness that their actions were criminal. A person with an Order of Protection against them may not understand that this usually means there can be absolutely no contact with the alleged victim. Our firm has been successful at demonstrating that violations of orders of protection are sometimes due to ignorance rather than criminal intent.
If you have an Order of Protection filed against you, it is essential to contact an attorney. We have aggressively and successfully challenged unwarranted Orders of Protection or fought to reduce the restrictions placed upon our clients. If domestic abuse or assault charges were filed in Criminal Court, we have argued to limit the terms of the order or to modify the order to allow our clients to move back into their homes or to retrieve property. In Family Court, we have had many Order of Protection petitions dismissed after establishing that a client did not pose a threat or by proving insufficient evidence existed to support an Order of Protection.