Order of Protection
An order of protection is a tool used by the courts to limit the behavior of someone (We’ll refer to them as the “abuser”) who threatens, abuses, or harasses another person. These can be issued in both civil and criminal cases. These can also sometimes be issued during a divorce in extreme cases.
When someone is accused of abuse or harassment, the courts will usually error on the side of caution and issue an emergency temporary protective order until the determination can be made whether or not the harassment or abuse has taken place. Once that determination has been made they will decide what kind of protective order should be in place moving forward and how long it should be in effect. Many times, the victim and abuser/harasser are or were in a relationship and the crime was/is domestic violence. This will also determine the type and duration of the protective order.
Provisions of Protective Orders: Limited and Full
While protective orders do not stop an abuser who is determined to abuse his victim, just as other laws don’t prevent criminals from breaking them, the order is a deterrent and allows the victim to call police if the abuser violates the order. Protection orders are not all made equally; some are more restrictive than others.
Limited Protective orders: A limited protective order will restrain a person from assault, stalking, harassment, aggravated harassment, and will order the abuser to attend counseling, etc. These orders may also be extended to family members, especially children who may also be suffering the same abuse. These limited orders may also require only “peaceful” interaction with the victim for limited reasons including the transfer of children for visitation purpose.
Full Protective orders: A full protective order will restrain an abuser from ALL contact whatsoever. This includes phone calls, text, emails, physical contact, or disturbing the victim in any way. These orders are usually accompanied by a physical restriction such as the abuser having to stay at least 100 yards away from the victim at all times. This puts a theoretical bubble around anyone named on the order so that wherever they go, they still have the “protection” of the order.
How long are protective orders in effect?
Emergency protective orders are usually only as long as it takes to schedule a court date and decide if the order should be long term. These long term protective orders usually last from one to five years, and some unique circumstances last a lifetime. The orders also may be renewed if the victim still feels threatened by his or her abuser.
What happens when someone violates a protective order?
Violations of protective orders are treated one of three ways: Felonies, misdemeanors, or contempt of court. Often the courts will treat these violations appropriate to the severity of the case. A repeat or serious violation may be treated and tried as a felony whereas a first time offender who did not inflict any physical abuse may have a lesser charge brought against them.
Some states may also choose to file the violation as a new harassment or abuse charge as well as contempt of court.
There are many resources for victims of domestic violence, abuse, and harassment. Understanding your rights in regards to keeping yourself and your family safe can be the difference between life and death in some cases. If you are in need of resources please look at the following links.
Consult with a knowledgeable Syracuse divorce attorney about protective orders
For a free consultation, call 315.488.5544 or contact the Bombardo Law Office, P.C. online. Our firm offers flexible payment options for clients who qualify. If weekday consultations are inconvenient, we can arrange after hours or weekend appointments that meet your needs.