Different Types of Orders of Protection for Domestic Violence Charges

Interviewer: Please explain what “no contact orders” mean.

After Almost All Arrests For Domestic Violence In New York State, The District Attorney Will Ask For A Temporary Full Order Of Protection

Martin Kane: In New York, they’re called orders of protection. Whenever anybody is arrested in New York on a domestic violence charge, the district attorney will always, in every single case, ask for what’s called a temporary full order of protection.

The Order Prohibits Any Contact Whatsoever Between The Parties

What that means is that there was to be no contact whatsoever either in person, by telephone, even by passing a message through another person. There’s no contact, direct or indirect, that is allowed.

The DA will always ask for that. Initially, the judge will almost always grant that application. Sometimes, I’ll talk myself blue in the face and, in almost every case, there will be a full order of protection where there’s to be absolutely no contact of any kind.

A Limited Order Of Protection Only Prohibits Any Type Of Assault Or Criminal Physical Contact

The second type of order of protection is called the limited order of protection. A limited order of protection simply means that the defendant is not allowed to assault the accuser or do any of the actions that he wouldn’t be allowed to do anyway against the person and, obviously, is a much better situation for the defendant.

It is very hard to get the judge to agree to a limited order of protection while the case is pending. Judges seem to be terrified that, in one of these cases, somebody will do something horrendously wrong. So, they always err on the side of caution and refuse anything other than a full order of protection.

One of the most important parts of my job is to get that full order of protection removed as soon as I can. This is because families are getting destroyed because they’re not allowed to have any contact.

What Should The Defendant Do If The Victim Attempts Contact During The Full Order Of Protection?

Interviewer: What if there’s been a full order of protection and the victim is the party who tries to contact the defendant? What should they do?

Martin Kane: The judge will actually tell the defendant right at the time the order is issued, “Now, look, even if this person tries to contact you, you are not to have any contact. If she calls you, you should not speak to her on the telephone. You certainly should not call her back if she tries to contact you through a third party to talk to you. You cannot have that type of contact.”

The Defendant Can Face New Charges If He Or She Responds To Contact Initiated By The Victim

Nothing will happen to the complainant by trying to contact your client, the defendant, but, if the client responds to that request, he’s going to be in trouble. He’s going to face new and more serious charges just by answering the telephone and speaking with her.

The answer there is really simple. If you are called and you answered the telephone, the only thing you can say is, “I’m sorry, I cannot speak with you,” and hang up the phone. Otherwise, you, the defendant, will be the one who’s charged even though she, the complainant, made the initial call.

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