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What If I Violate a Restraining Order

What If I Violate a Restraining Order?

If you have been accused of violating an order of protection, it is imperative that you speak with a New York City criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Daniel A. Hochheiser as soon as possible. The firm has almost 50 years of collective experience and offers knowledgeable legal counsel to protect residents throughout NYC. Every case handled is given the personal treatment it needs.

You could be facing up to 4 years in prison, so you should not hesitate to act quickly in the interest of your defense. Call today for a free and confidential case evaluation - (800) 813-9069!

Protection from Family Court vs. Criminal Court

In New York, restraining orders can be issued in both family court and criminal court—the difference being that family court would handle the case through civil proceedings, while the criminal court would issue protection as a condition of a pre-existing case. When an individual requests a restraining order from family court, the subsequent proceedings would be confidential.

It must be proven by the petitioner, however, that they have been involved in some sort of intimate or familial relationship with the alleged abuser. This could include a current or former spouse, a family member (by blood or marriage), an intimate partner or the mother / father of their child. In regard to criminal court, protection can only be issued against someone who has been charged with a crime.

Understanding Orders of Protection

In the state of New York, restraining orders are more commonly referred to as orders for protection. These orders can be obtained in either family court or criminal court, and generally prohibit the "aggressor" from coming into contact with the "victim." The nature of the restraints will be dependent on the alleged abuse and the type of relationship that exists between the two parties.

An order of protection can be taken out against a spouse, family member, intimate partner or the mother / father of the petitioner's child. In most cases, the court will grant the request for protection if an individual has been threatened and/or harmed under one or more of the following circumstances:

Once a restraining order has been granted, the respondent will be asked to abide by the terms and conditions that have been set out by the court. In some cases, this could mean that the abuser would be required to stay away from the petitioner, move out of a shared home, surrender their firearms and adhere to modified terms of child custody.

The order of protection can also specify that they must refrain from calling or emailing, visiting the petitioner's place of employment or coming within a certain distance of their child's school. Should they violate any of these conditions, they could be facing a criminal arrest and subsequent time in jail. Contact us for aggressive defense in areas throughout New York, including Westchester, Bronx, Manhattan, and Scarsdale.

Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order in NY

When an order of protection is issued by either family court or criminal court, specific instructions will be outlined, which can include:

  • Staying away from the petitioner
  • Refraining from calling or emailing
  • Forfeiting one's firearms

Should the "offender" violate any of these terms, they could face serious legal consequences.

If the order was issued in family court, the respondent could be held in civil contempt for up to 6 months—which is the equivalent of 6 months in jail. The case could be transferred to criminal court, however, wherein they could be charged with criminal contempt in the first degree (Class E felony) or criminal contempt in the second degree (Class A misdemeanor). If convicted on a felony count, they could be sentenced to 2 to 4 years in prison.

What if the petitioner has violated the order?

In some cases, the petitioner will violate the terms of "no contact" that they had originally requested from the court by calling the subject of the order. Although this may seem unfair, it is unlikely that they would face any ramifications for doing so. If the restraining order is still in place, however, the respondent could still be subjected to civil or criminal contempt for engaging in contact with the petitioner.

It would not matter who had initiated the conversation and/or meeting. For this reason, it is highly recommended that the subject of a restraining order refrain from making contact under any circumstances. Although the court may not penalize the "offender" for picking up their phone or responding to an email, it may be a good idea to play it safe.

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During a free case evaluation, a knowledgeable legal guide can assess the case and develop a straightforward plan for defense. Get the honest and reliable counsel you need! Contact our firm today at (800) 813-9069 for a free initial consultation or submit a case evaluation form online

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