Unfortunately, relationships do not always work out and many people end up not getting along. The police answer calls every day where a simple argument between a couple has escalated to the level of verbal or physical abuse and harassment. Both NY and NJ have implemented measures to protect victims of either domestic violence or other acts of criminal violence by way of restraining orders through the courts.
What is A Restraining Order / Order Of Protection?
A restraining order (RO) or order of protection is a measure that you can take to help protect you from anyone who harms or threatens to harm you. Although an order cannot guarantee your complete protection and safety it does put in place certain penalties if the order is violated. In New York, an order of protection can be requested within the Family Court and Criminal Court. An order of protection will direct the person violating your rights to not injure, harass or threaten you, your family or any other person you choose to name in the order.
Can I Get A Restraining Order Against Anyone?
In Family Court you can only qualify for an order of protection against your spouse or former spouse, someone you had a child with, a family relative by blood or marriage, or someone you have had an intimate relationship with. It’s important to note that an ‘intimate relationship’ does not necessarily mean that you had sexual relations with the person you seek protection from. The court will also consider factors such as the nature of your relationship, how long you have known the individual and how often you see each other. The court will make a decision on whether the relationship qualifies as intimate after the petition is filed.
In Criminal Court, an order of protection is only issued as a condition of the criminal defendant’s release or bail in a case against a victim. The district attorney for the State of New York is responsible for prosecuting or bringing forward the criminal case to the courts and requesting an order of protection for any victim or complaining witness. The judge will make the ultimate decision as to issuing the order and defining the terms and conditions within.
How Do I get an Order Put In Place?
In New York Family Court, a petitioner (the individual asking the court for protection) has to file a Family Offense petition. Should you need any help with filling out the form you can contact the family court within your county or contact a family law attorney that handles orders of protection. If you are a victim in a certain criminal matter you can talk to the prosecutor and request that he asks the judge to put an order of protection in place.
Violating a Restraining Order
Again, a restraining order does not guarantee your safety. However violating the order will hold the person in contempt of a court order, which is a crime. If someone violates the order, you have the right to contact the police and have the individual arrested and put in jail until his matter is heard by the judge. The person arrested can be facing extended jail time or charged with a misdemeanor or felony and be fined. After the person is arrested however, the victim must decide on whether they will move forward with pressing criminal charges. The district attorney may not have enough evidence to move forward and prosecute the matter unless the victim is willing to testify against the accused.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
The legal system can be very complicated and confusing. If you are being accused of domestic abuse or violating a restraining order you should speak to a criminal defense attorney today. An attorney will be able to defend you and help answer all your questions.
The Rosenblum Law Firm can assist you and provide you with the best legal service for your case. Call us today for a free consultation, we can help. Call 888-815-3649.