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Can a Civil Protection Order Put an Abuser in Jail?

Although domestic violence was once largely ignored by law enforcement and the courts, it is now taken very seriously by both. In fact, an alleged victim is often able to get a judge to approve a civil protection order without the alleged abuser having the opportunity to object to the order or defend the allegations found in the order. The reasoning behind this is simple - better safe than sorry. Whether you are the alleged victim or abuser, you may be asking " Can a civil protection order put an abuser in jail? " Once an order has been issued, violating the order can indeed result in the respondent going to jail.

A civil protection order is one of the rare instances in the law where the petitioner (the alleged victim) is able to get an ex parte court order. "Ex parte" means that the order is issued without the respondent (the alleged abuser in this case) being afforded the right to object to the order. Ex parte orders are only issued when a court feels that time is of the essence and great harm could come if the order is not granted. In the case of a protection order, the court must be convinced that the petitioner is in danger and needs the protection of the court. If the court is convinced a temporary protection order will issue and a date set for a hearing. At the hearing, the respondent will be given the opportunity to defend his/her position and address any allegations made by the petitioner. The court may then rescind the protection order or make the order permanent.

Once the temporary order has been issued, and served on the respondent, the terms of the order must be obeyed by the respondent. Typically, the terms include a prohibition against contacting the petitioner in any way. The respondent may also be prohibited from coming near the petitioner and the petitioner's family, home, and/or workplace. Violating a protection order is a criminal offense in the State of New York and usually results in the arrest of the respondent. For example, if the respondent shows up at the petitioner's home or workplace after the order has been issued, the petitioner may call the police and the police will likely arrest the respondent. Violating the order is a crime itself - no other crime needs to be committed for the police to make an arrest.

If you have additional questions or concerns about a civil protection order in the State of New York, consult with the experienced attorneys at Simon & Gilman, LLP

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