When New York State police investigate an alleged domestic violence dispute, not only will they make an arrest (according to their “mandatory arrest” policy), but the alleged victim may also file a restraining order – also known as an order of protection – against the alleged offender. Orders of protection are designed to ensure the person who harms or threatens to harm someone else to stay away and not contact the alleged victim.
The following are two ways a person can obtain a restraining order in New York:
- Family Court – To request an order of protection, a person can file a family offense petition in Family Court. The petitioner must be a current or former spouse or romantic partner, relative by blood or marriage, or share a child with the respondent. The petitioner must allege and prove that the respondent committed certain crimes against the petitioner, or the petitioner is in imminent danger. Even if the respondent isn’t charged or convicted with the crime, the Family Court can issue a temporary order of protection
- Criminal Court – When a person is harmed or threatened by someone else, then he/she can report the incident to the police. When an officer charges the alleged offender with a crime, the Criminal Court can issue an order of protection.
There are two main types of orders of protections: temporary orders and final orders. A temporary order of protection lasts until the next court date and can be renewed after each court hearing, while a permanent order of protection is issued at the end of the case and often lasts up to two years or five years, if more “aggravating circumstances” exist.
Violating an order of protection can result in a new charge of “criminal contempt of court.” A first-degree criminal contempt charge is a Class E felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of four years, while a second-degree criminal charge is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a jail term of up to one year. If aggravating circumstances exist, then a violator can be charged with aggravated criminal contempt, which is a Class D felony that is punishable by imprisonment for up to seven years.
If you or a loved one has been accused of domestic violence in New York, contact Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry PLLC today at (516) 218-5131 and request a free initial consultation. Let more than 80+ years of collective experience help you immediately!