Orders of Protection

Following arrest, an individual charged with a domestic violence offense will be brought before a criminal court judge to be arraigned. In most non-felony cases, the accused individual will be released on his/her own recognizance (ROR'd). However, in virtually all domestic violence cases, the judge will issue a temporary order of protection. A temporary order of protection can either be a full stay away order or a limited order. Which of these two types of orders will issue depends mostly upon the seriousness of the allegations as well as the wishes of the alleged victim. In situations where the alleged victim does not wish to go forward with charges, where there is not a previous history of abuse, and where there are no serious injuries, a judge may decide to issue a limited order of protection. A limited order  forbids the accused abuser from engaging in any unlawful conduct towards the protected party. Since the acts which are forbidden are already unlawful, for practical purposes the only benefit of a limited order of protection is that any violation will result in additional criminal charges.

In most domestic violence cases, a full temporary order of protection will be issued. This order will remain in effect while the criminal charges are pending. Sometimes, the judge will issue a full order subject to family court modification. Any violation of a full stay away order will result in new criminal charges. Often a full stay away order will force an accused person to find a new place to live until the criminal case is resolved. This can obviously cause inconvenience and economic hardship. Following an arrest, where a judge issues a full order of protection, the subject of the order will usually be given the opportunity to return to the residence with a police escort to retrieve clothes and other belongings.

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