In the State of New York, an individual can seek protection from alleged abuse or the threat of abuse by applying for an Order of Protection. In Queens, New York, an Order of Protection may be issued by a Family Court, a Criminal Court or a Supreme Court. If you have been served with an Order of Protection, you have a right to contest the allegations found within the Order; however, it is imperative that you obey the order until you are able to defend yourself at a hearing.
Again, you could be issued a Protection Order in Queens New York from a Family Court, a Criminal Court or a Supreme Court. A Supreme Court Order of Protection can be issued as part of a divorce proceeding. A Criminal Court Order of Protection can be issued as part of an ongoing criminal prosecution, typically to prevent an accused from contacting an alleged victim or witness in the case. In both of these situations you will likely know ahead of time, and even have the opportunity to be heard, before the Order of Protection is issued. If, however, the Order of Protection is issued out of Family Court it can be issued without your knowledge or your input. This is referred to as an "ex-parte" Temporary Order of Protection and is one of the rare occasions in the law when an order is issued without both sides having the opportunity to be heard prior to the issuance of an Order from the court.
To obtain a Family Court Order of Protection, the petitioner's relationship to you must be:
- Current or former spouse
- Someone with whom you have a child in common
- A family member to whom you are related by blood or marriage
- Someone with whom you have or have had an "intimate relationship." An intimate relationship does not have to be a sexual relationship. A relationship may be considered intimate depending on factors such as how often you see each other, or how long you have known each other. After a petition is filed, the court will decide if it is an intimate relationship.
The judge reviewing the petition will issue a Temporary Order of Protection if he or she is convinced, based only on the information contained in the petition, that grounds exist for the Order of Protection. The Order may prevent you from contacting the petitioner, prevent contact with children, and even require you to move out of your home. You will then be served with the Order and a hearing date will be set. At the hearing you have the right to be represented by counsel. Until the hearing date it is very important that you not violate the terms of the Order.
Given what is at stake, you should consult SIMON & GILMAN, LLP, experienced Queens criminal defense and family court attorneys, if you are served with a Temporary Order of Protection.