Orders of Protection
July 20th 2012 · 3 Comments
Disclaimer: No part of this blog or any postings is legal advice and nothing in this blog constitutes the creation of an attorney-client relationship.
Going to court can be an intimidating and emotional experience, especially when your liberty is at risk or it is a family matter. However it is very important to pay attention to the proceedings and understand what, if anything, the court is requiring of you.
One of the areas where I see a lot of people get into trouble is the order of protection. In my criminal defense practice, I most frequently see these orders in the context of domestic cases and in one of two scenarios.
The first scenario is when the order was given in family court. Even though the order is issued by a family court judge, violation of an order of protection will often have criminal consequences.
The second scenario where I often see orders of protection issued is in domestic violence cases. These cases usually start as a criminal proceeding but violation of an order of protection can lead to new and separate criminal charges.
The most common problems occur when clients do not understand what the orders mean. Frequently clients think that the order goes “both ways” and that the protected person is prohibited from contacting them. This is rarely the case, especially in criminal cases where the court only has authority to issue an order against he accused. The protected person may, and frequently does initiate contact, sometimes to reconcile and sometimes to harass. However, if the person subject to the order replies, they may have violated the terms of the order regardless of who initiated the contact. Although the order is for the benefit of the protected party, it comes from the court and only the court can modify the order regardless of what the protected party wants.
In my experience, courts see violations of orders of protection as showing an unwillingness to comply with the judicial process and usually result in relatively high bails being set.
By Mark Ziobro