NY Criminal Defense Lawyer

Violation of a Restraining Order


No judge wants court orders to be taken lightly. But when you violate a restraining order, that’s exactly what you are doing. A judge signs off on a restraining order for a variety of reasons and when it’s been filed you must adhere to all of the stipulations. Violation of even one aspect of such an order can result in new criminal charges, an unhappy judge, and prison time.

New York restraining orders are used in a variety of cases. Usually they are designed to protect one person from another. Because the standard for approving a restraining order doesn’t require that you be proven guilty of any crime, they are often issued in cases where it isn’t warranted. However, regardless of whether the restraining order was appropriate, you are bound by the terms while it is in effect.

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What Does a Restraining Order Do?

Restraining orders don’t only limit your physical contact with someone—they can:

  • Restrict phone, email, and personal contact
  • Limit proximity to a place (the alleged victim’s home or job)
  • Limit contact with immediate family members of the alleged victim
  • Prohibit 3rd party messages
  • Order temporary custody
  • Remove you from your home (if you reside with the alleged victim)

All restraining orders are a little different because all cases are unique. However, if you are caught in violation of any of the tenets of the order, you can face arrest and prosecution.

Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order in New York

In most cases, violating a restraining order can result in a new charge of criminal contempt of court. Criminal contempt of the 1st degree (the typical charge) is considered a Class E Felony. Depending on your criminal history, you could face anywhere up to 4 years in prison for this offense.

In addition to legal penalties like prison time and fines, you run the risk of further damaging your reputation and personal relationships. If the order was enacted pending another criminal case, the violation certainly won’t look good in court. Not to mention in cases where custody is an issue. The consequences for a restraining order violation can be serious indeed.

How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help With a Restraining Order Violation

Consulting with a criminal defense attorney can give you immediate insight into the options that you have. A criminal contempt charge is not the same as a conviction and there’s still time to mitigate the potential effects of this latest offense.

Your attorney can help you by aggressively defending your rights and pursuing a positive result in court. We can review the circumstances that lead to the alleged violation, and contest any facts that don’t fit the legal statute.

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