What Happens If You Violate a Restraining Order in New York?



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    When an individual is accused of a violent or domestic offense, the alleged victim will likely seek an order of protection, commonly referred to as a restraining order against you. In New York, this is a judicial order that directs a person to refrain from engaging in certain acts against a protected person to ensure their safety from further abuse, harm, or harassment. This court order comes with specific conditions that must be followed. Understanding the terms of your order of protection is critical, as any violations can result in severe consequences. Please continue reading to learn the penalties for violating a New York restraining order and how our dedicated Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorneys can help defend your rights. 

    What is a Restraining Order?

    As mentioned above, a restraining order is called an order of protection in New York. A criminal or family court typically issues these orders upon filing a family offense or neglect petition. They are enforced to protect a person in a situation involving domestic violence, child abuse, assault, harassment, stalking, or sexual abuse. It’s important to note that a “stay-away order” directs a person to have no contact with the protected person and prohibits them from living with the protected party. The conditions of an order of protection may include:

    • Staying away from the protected person or within a certain distance
    • Staying away from the person’s home, workplace, or school
    • Avoiding communication
    • Avoiding communication with the protected person through third parties
    • Forfeiture of any weapons or licenses for weapons

    What Are the Consequences of Violating a New York Restraining Order?

    It’s essential to understand that a restraining order is an official court order. This means violating the conditions of the order is similar to violating probation. Essentially, violating a New York restraining order can result in contempt of the court. When an individual intentionally disobeys a court order, they will be charged with criminal contempt in the second degree. This is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. When a person deliberately causes or attempts to cause the victim to fear for their safety by contacting them, brandishing a weapon, or engaging in any other behavior intended to arouse alarm, they would be charged with criminal contempt in the first degree. This can be charged as a Class E felony, meaning the penalties increase to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

    The most severe criminal charge for violating a New York restraining order is aggravated criminal contempt. This occurs when an individual recklessly or intentionally causes physical injury or harm to the victim. This is a Class D felony that could lead to seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

    If you’re facing criminal charges for violating a New York restraining order, please don’t hesitate to contact Grunwald & Seman, P.C. to discuss possible defenses.

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