Orders of protection (commonly called “restraining orders”) are a legal tool often used in domestic violence cases to ensure the safety of alleged victims. If granted by a court, these orders often come with significant restrictions on a person accused or convicted of a crime. They also carry serious consequences for anyone who doesn’t abide by the order.
A protection order typically requires a person accused or convicted of a crime from going near the alleged victim and potentially his or her children. That may include requiring a spouse or parent to leave the family home. The order usually specifically bans the person from harassing or threatening anyone protected by the order and prohibits the person from having a gun.
Protective orders are often relatively easy to be obtained. They can be issued on a temporary basis without a judge first having to find that the person restricted by the order actually committed a crime.
Both family and criminal courts have the power to issue orders of protection. The process begins in family court when a person files a petition, alleging that the person he or she is seeking the order against committed a certain crime, like assault, sexual abuse, stalking and other offenses. He or she also has to establish that the person who committed the crime is related by blood or marriage, is a roommate or otherwise is or was in an “intimate relationship” with the victim. A criminal court, meanwhile, can issue a protective order at any point during the prosecution of the underlying crime.
Restraining orders in domestic violence cases often come down to “he said, she said” situations in which allegations are still largely unproved. The problem is that removing an order of protection isn’t always as easy as getting it in the first place. The can also be weaponized to try to intimidate someone involved in a family dispute. That’s why it’s important to fight the request for an order head on.
One common way to challenge an order of protection is by arguing that the allegations are false. Although the standard for proving accusations to support an order is lower than for securing a conviction in criminal court, an experienced lawyer can help you make that case that you’ve been wrongfully accused. An attorney can also work to lessen the restrictions to allow you some contact with your kids and loved ones, in certain cases.
If you or a loved one has been charged with domestic violence or related crimes in the Capital District, it is vital to seek the advice of an experienced Albany domestic violence attorney. A lawyer can help you weigh your options and start building the strongest possible defense, in some cases before you’ve even been charged with a crime.
James E. Tyner is an experienced attorney who has been representing clients in domestic violence and other cases for more than a decade. Mr. Tyner has a strong track record of getting optimal results for the people that he represents. He is happy to serve clients in Albany, Schenectady, Latham and throughout the state. Contact us online or call 1-866-715-4396 to schedule a free consultation.