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Domestic violence is all too common in Washington County, New York. Whether you are being abused, or if you have been accused of abuse, you need legal representation fast. At the Colwell Law Group, our attorneys have several decades of experience in domestic violence cases, and we are here for you.

Family Offense Petitions

To obtain an order of protection, you will need to file a family offense petition with the New York State Family Court. The purpose of the petition is to notify the court of the domestic violence. You can file a family offense petition if you are being abused by someone in a familiar or intimate relationship to you:

  • Your spouse
  • Your ex-spouse
  • Someone you have an intimate partner relationship with
  • Someone you have a child with
  • A family member, such as a parent, sibling, or child

The petition must provide details of the abuse. To receive a protective order, the offense must be sufficiently serious to qualify as a “family offense” under New York’s Family Court Act § 812. Examples include:

  • Harassment in the first or second degree
  • Aggravated harassment in the second degree
  • Stalking
  • Attempted assault
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Menacing in the second or third degree
  • Assault in the second or third degree
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Forcible touching
  • Strangulation

Generally, any punching, slapping, sexual assault, or stalking/harassment should qualify. However, to make sure you submit your paperwork in the proper manner, you should work with an experienced Washington County domestic violence lawyer.

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Obtaining and Enforcing a Protective Order

If the judge believes there is good cause, she can issue a temporary order of protection that is good until your hearing for a permanent order. Both temporary and permanent orders can restrict the abuser’s ability to contact or visit your or your family members. The order can also include other restrictions, such as requiring the abuser to move out of the house or to turn over any firearm to the police.

If the abuser violates the order, you can ask the judge to hold the abuser in contempt of court. As a result, the judge might send the person to jail, issue fines, or place additional restrictions on them. Enforcing an order is complicated, but we are happy to assist you.

Defending against a Family Offense Petition

Unfortunately, false allegations of domestic violence do occur, and innocent men and women can have had their lives turned upside down when a judge issues a protective order that is not warranted. If you have been accused of abuse, you need to swing into action quickly. Key will be showing a judge that the abuse allegations are false or overstated.

At the Colwell Law Group, we have helped many people fight off unfair orders of protection, and we know how to present evidence that judges find compelling. Nevertheless, if you have already received a temporary order of protection, follow all conditions closely until you meet with an attorney to discuss next steps.

Speak with a Domestic Violence Lawyer in Washington County

Domestic violence cases are complicated. Often, two people have divergent memories of what happened at any given moment, and you need an advocate who can effectively present your side of the story. To schedule a consultation with a domestic violence lawyer in Washington County, please reach out the Colwell Law Group today.

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