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September 20, 2013

Ins and outs of protection orders

There are many circumstances, especially in domestic-violence cases, when a judge will issue a temporary order of protection while a criminal or Family Court case is pending.

And a permanent order may be put in place when the case is concluded. 

The purpose of these orders is to address safety concerns for the protected parties. The judge must evaluate whether an order is needed, even in cases where the alleged victim is not requesting it.

The order of protection is the judge’s order, a court order — it is not an order between the two people involved in the case. Only the judge can change it. 

The person who is protected by the order cannot change it, nor give anyone permission to break it.

If the person who is protected by the order wants it changed or dropped, the request must be made to the judge or the assistant district attorney. 

It is very possible that they will not grant the request, as the judge and district attorney have independent responsibilities to assess whether an order is needed for safety. 

As long as the order of protection is in effect, any violation of it by the defendant can result in arrest for criminal contempt. This is so even if the protected party allowed the contact.

READ CAREFULLY

There are two kinds of orders of protection in New York; read yours carefully. 

If it says that you must STAY AWAY from a particular person, that means that you cannot have contact of any kind. This includes no posts on Facebook, no messages through other people, no presents, no responding to requests by the protected person.

If you are the person who the judge issued an order of protection against, then you are the one who can be charged with a crime if the order is violated. 

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