A recent probe into Governor David A. Paterson’s role in a protection order incident is bringing the court orders into the public light, revealing their benefits and shortcomings in protecting victims of domestic violence and other such crimes.
Across the country, the laws governing restraining orders, when they can be issued, and how they are enforced varies widely. Here in NY as with other states, a protection order doesn’t necessarily mean a victim is safe, only that the alleged offender will face criminal charges if the terms are violated.
This report from WeNews points out that protection orders aren’t always issued. As a matter of fact, they state that only about 20% of victims get an order in place. Once in place, enforcement is a whole other issue.
Sure, if you violate a protection order you can face additional criminal charges, and many of them are violated. But, police have traditionally taken a lackadaisical approach to domestic violence enforcement, making the likelihood of your violation leading to criminal charges quite small.
This isn’t to say things haven’t improved. You are more likely to be caught and charged with a violation of a protection order today than at any time in the past. And the charges you may face for such a violation are reason enough to steer clear of the protected party.
In New York, if you are charged with violating a restraining order you can be charged with criminal contempt in the 1st degree. This is a Class E felony and carries up to 4 years in prison. Once charged, the system takes these violations very seriously.
Any charges that are pending at the time of your violation will surely not benefit from the newest case. Knowing how to approach both your protection order violation and a related domestic violence charge is something we have years of experience in.