What is an order of protection?

In domestic violence cases, assault cases or even some divorce cases, one party may request an order of protection. Also known as a restraining order or no-contact order, this legal document outlines a behavior that the alleged abuser must cease.

Typically, an order of protection requires the alleged abuser to stay away from the victim’s home and workplace. However, an order or protection can also demand that the alleged abuser pay child support or abide by a child custody arrangement in a domestic violence case.

Temporary to final order

Temporary orders of protection take force the day the victim requests the order in court or files the motion and the alleged abuser receives the order. Temporary orders last only until the court hearing date. The judge will then decide if the order of protection will continue.

Final orders of protection take force after the hearing results in a conviction. In most cases, the final order lasts one year, though the judge can extend the order for up to five years if he or she feels that would be best for the case.

Types of orders of protection

There are two types of orders of protection recognized in New York State:

  1. A full order of protection prevents the alleged abuser from contacting the victim in any way. Under a full order of protection, any contact from the alleged abuser results in arrest.
  2. A limited order of protection only prohibits certain behaviors such as assault, abuse or harassment. Under a limited order of protection, the alleged abuser and victim may stay in contact without those negative behaviors.

Lifting an order of protection

If an alleged abuser believes that s/he received an order of protection in error, that person can request that the courts lift the order. Especially if the circumstances of the case or living situation change, the order of protection may no longer apply. Whether the order applies to a family court case or a criminal court case, a lawyer can assist an alleged abuser with the necessary steps to call a new hearing.

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