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New York criminal defense attorney order of protection

If you are accused of harassment or stalking in the state of New York, you could be facing serious penalties if convicted of these crimes. In addition, you might eventually be faced with an order of protection if you have not already received one. Orders of protection, often called restraining orders, are very common with domestic violence cases in particular. When dealing with these orders, it is useful to know how New York law defines an order of protection and tips for how you can handle such orders so that you do not unknowingly violate them and face further criminal charges.

Order of Protection: Defined 

An order of protection (OOP), also known as a temporary order of protection (TOP), is meant to secure the safety of victims of domestic violence, stalking, and harassment; however, sometimes they can also be used in a manipulative manner during particularly heated child custody disputes and divorces. Whatever the cause of such an order being issued, it is important to understand what it is and how to respond to it properly.

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Manhattan domestic violence attorneysBeing involved in any domestic violence dispute, especially when you are the alleged perpetrator, is an alarming and sobering experience. Emotions run high when high-conflict tensions collide, and it is not uncommon for accounts of the events that took place to vary, with differing points of view. At times, the allegations may be heavily embellished, while other accounts reflect a mixture of both truth and fabrication. 

Whatever the circumstances, when a domestic violence case has emerged with your name on it, grave consequences can ensue and threaten your livelihood and reputation in the community. If an Order of Protection has been entered against you in the state of New York due to domestic violence claims, it is important to understand what this means and how the process works.

The Purpose of an Order of Protection

An Order of Protection may be filed against someone who has been accused of committing an act of domestic violence against an intimate partner or family member. In New York, domestic violence itself is a single, specific criminal act, but instead represents a category of criminal acts or crimes. For example, harassing, stalking, sexual assault, or any kind of threat or intimidation is considered an act of domestic violence. An Order of Protection is a tool that places legal limits on an alleged perpetrator’s behavior. It orders them to move out of the home (if applicable), have zero contact with the victim, surrender firearms, and to stay away from others listed on the Order.

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Manhattan domestic violence lawyersIn the state of New York, the list of domestic violence criminal offenses is broad and comprises a variety of acts. Domestic violence is a term that represents categories of these criminal acts, not a name for a single, particular crime, making it tricky to define at times. When any of these acts are committed, the courts treat the crime as a family offense, as defined by the state’s penal statutes. Victims of domestic violence incidents who are considered by law to be family may file a family offense petition against the alleged perpetrator, a claim that states an act of domestic violence has been committed against them.

Who Can File a Family Offense Petition Against You?

Any individual related by blood or marriage, or anyone who shares a child with you may file a family offense petition against you if they claim you have committed of any of the following acts:

  • Harassment
  • Stalking or menacing
  • Sexual abuse
  • Assault, including attempted assault
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Coercion
  • Strangulation, or any form of obstruction of breathing or blood circulation
  • Grand larceny

Other criminal acts that may warrant the filing of a family offense petition include identity theft, reckless endangerment, or any form of criminal mischief. 

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NYC domestic violence attorneysUnder New York law, domestic violence is not the name of a specific crime. Instead, it is a term that represents a category of different criminal acts. Domestic violence can include everything from assault, stalking, and sexual abuse to threats, intimidation, or grand larceny. If criminal acts such as these are committed in an intimate partner relationship, they are forms of domestic violence, and you do not have to be living with or even sleeping with a person to be considered an intimate partner of someone by law. Whether the relationship is over, you are legally married, or you share a child with someone, if you have been or are currently involved in an intimate relationship of some sort and find yourself accused of an act of domestic violence, the ramifications can be grave and far reaching. 

What Happens After the Police are Called on You?

The moment you are reported to the authorities for an incident of domestic violence, it is natural to feel a sense of panic or uncertainty. What will happen when the police arrive? Will you be immediately arrested? Where do you turn to share your side of the story, and how do you know your rights will be protected in the event of false allegations? If you ever find yourself in such a circumstance, it is helpful to be aware of what to expect after the police have been called. Here is what you need to know:

  • You could be arrested. Police have “mandatory arrest” protocol in New York State for cases of domestic violence. This means that they must make an arrest anytime a felony is committed, or when an abuser disobeys an order of protection. For example, if you were to violate an order of protection by committing a family offense crime or making contact when a stay-away order has been filed against you, the police will probably arrest you at the scene.
  • Exceptions may apply. If the victim requests to forgo arrest, and if there is no order of protection or the alleged abuser has committed a misdemeanor crime, the mandatory arrest does not necessarily apply. However, if the police feel arrest is still the best course of action, they may still proceed in taking the suspected abuser to jail, despite the victim’s request.
  • Running is not a good option. If you are accused of domestic violence and flee the scene before the cops arrive, you could still be subject to mandatory arrest. Not all arrests happen immediately after the moment the police are called.

Following Your Arrest

After the arrest, the abuser is subject to an arraignment hearing before a judge. This usually happens within 24 hours of the arrest. At this time, the judge can decide to grant you bail, hold you in prison without bail, or release you and have you come back to court later to address the charges against you.. An order of protection may also be issued against you, which establishes rules, terms, and conditions you must follow while the order remains in effect.

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Manhattan criminal defense attorneysIf you have been accused of an incident of domestic violence, it is natural to feel overwhelmed  and at a loss for what to do or where to turn as you discover the potential ramifications for such actions, especially when you feel the allegations are embellished or completely unjustified. Under New York State law, the term domestic violence is not a definition for a crime. Instead, this term is used to describe a range of specific acts, or a variety of crimes, that are considered forms of domestic violence. This can make understanding the charges you may be faced with more confusing, as there are many different types of domestic violence crimes and they are all handled differently, depending on their context. 

Examples of Domestic Violence Crimes 

To give you a clearer picture of what the law considers a domestic violence crime, here are some examples of acts that can lead to domestic violence charges:

  • Stalking, harassment, or menacing - Following, monitoring, or tracking an intimate partner, repeatedly doing something that causes them continual distress, or threatening them in some way with or without a weapon are forms of stalking, harassment, or menacing crimes.
  • Assault or reckless endangerment - Directly hitting, kicking, punching or using a weapon against someone is considered assault. This crime includes throwing objects at someone to cause them injury and harm. Any action that you take to deliberately put a person in a position that causes them physical injury is considered reckless endangerment.
  • Intimidation and threats - Whether you force someone into doing something or keep them from doing something, any words or actions that scare someone enough to control their decisions constitute a domestic violence crime.
  • Mischief - Destroying or taking property, even when it is shared property, is considered criminal mischief. Whether you take your partner’s car keys, destroy their computer, or slash their tires, these kinds of acts are punishable by law.

Other kinds of criminal acts you could face charges for include any kind of unwanted sexual conduct (sexual abuse), choking, strangling, or disorderly conduct, such as drunken arguments that result in loud yelling and commotion. If you are not only disturbing your household, but your neighbors, too, this can trigger serious consequences once the authorities get involved.  

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