Violation of Order of Protection

Violation of Order of Protection

In New York, a court-issued Order of Protection prohibits the subject recipient from committing certain acts to or around the person who requested protection. A full Order (also known as a stay away order) bans all forms of contact while a limited one only prohibits certain behaviors, such as frequenting the victim’s workplace or school.

Orders of Protection are typically associated with domestic violence offenses such as stalking and assault, but can also be issued in situations involving reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. Examples of restricted behaviors include:

  • Coming within a certain distance of the victim
  • Going to the victim’s home, workplace, or school
  • Owning weapons while the Order is in effect
  • Calling, emailing, or sending letters to the victim
  • Sending messages to the victim through third parties
  • Living with the victim (if you share a residence, then you will have to move out)

Like all court orders, violating an Order of Protection is a serious matter, and could result in your arrest for one or more of the following offenses:

Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree: This Class A misdemeanor applies when you intentionally disobey a court order. If convicted you could spend up to a year in jail and be forced to pay a $1,000 fine.

Criminal Contempt in the First Degree: If you deliberately cause (or attempt to cause) the victim to fear for his to her safety by contacting them, brandishing a weapon, or any other behavior intended to arouse alarm, then you can be charged with this Class E felony, which can result in a four-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $5,000.

Aggravated Criminal Contempt: A criminal contempt charge becomes aggravated when you recklessly or intentionally cause physical injury to the victim. It also applies if you are found guilty of Criminal Contempt in the First Degree and have one aggravated contempt charge or two first degree contempt charges (within the past five years) on your record. This Class D felony is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

What many recipients do not understand is that the person protected by the Order does not have the authority to permit the recipient to disobey it. An Order of Protection can only be modified or vacated by the court. This means that if the person who took out the Order against you changes their mind and decides to communicate with you, then you can be arrested for criminal contempt.

If you have been charged with violating an Order of Protection in New York, then it is critical that you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Even a misdemeanor on your record can entail serious future consequences, so engaging strong legal counsel is your best chance at protecting your reputation and prospects. The Law Offices of Julie Rendelman, LLC, provides representation to those who are charged with crimes related to violating an Order of Protection. Ms. Rendelman has over 20 years of experience practicing law both as a prosecutor and defense attorney and offers free consultations to potential clients who would like to learn more about their rights. Call 212-951-1232 to schedule your free consultation.