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Family Offense Petition Lawyers NYC

When a person has claimed that a family member committed a certain act against them, they have the legal right to file what is known as a family offense petition. This petition can be filed when the following is committed against a family member:

• Aggravated harassment
• Assault or attempted assault
• Criminal mischief
• Disorderly conduct
• Harassment
• Menacing
• Reckless endangerment
• Stalking

It’s important to have the knowledge of how to go about filing a family offense petition so that there is no confusion. “Family members” are generally people who are related by blood or marriage, people who were previously married or even individuals who are not related but who have had a child together.

On the same day that a person files a family offense petition, they have the right to immediately have a court appearance. If the judge determines that the petition has good cause, he or she may issue an order of protection to the petitioner. If there are children involved in the family situation, the judge can also order a temporary order of child support as well. It’s important to know that the order of protection is good until the date the family member alleged to be perpetrating the abuse, also known as the respondent, is scheduled to appear in court.

After the family offense petition is filed, the judge will also set the date for the respondent to appear and issue that person a summons. In the event that the person who files the petition is in immediate danger, the judge may issue a warrant that requires the respondent to be brought into the court.

The respondent can either admit to or deny the allegations listed in the family offense petition. That person also has the right to simply consent to the order of protection. In some cases, if the family court is not currently in session, the person filing the petition can receive an order of protection from the criminal court. This also depends on the circumstances of the situation.

However, in the event that the respondent denies the allegations, there will be a hearing to determine whether the allegations in the petition are true. If the judge determines the allegations are proven, the next step is a dispositional hearing. However, prior to a second hearing occurring, the court may adjourn to ask questions regarding the conditions, capacities and surroundings of everyone involved in the case.

If the judge determines that allegations found in the petition have not been proven, the case will be dismissed.

When allegations have been proven and the dispositional hearing takes place, the judge issues a dispositional order. That order can include any of the following situations:

• Suspension of the judgment for six months
• The respondent may be put on probation for as long as one year and may be required to take part in a batterer’s educational program. This program can include treatment for drugs or alcohol. The respondent would be required to pay for the program’s cost
• The respondent may be required to pay restitution of a maximum of $10,000
• The judge may issue a final order of protection that is effective for as long as two or even five years depending on the circumstances

In addition, there may be a final order of protection issued, which can require the following of the respondent:

• They must stay away from the petitioner and the children who may be involved
• Must pay the legal fees of the petitioner
• Participate in a batterer’s educational program
• Must pay for any medical bills the petitioner has for any injuries stemming from the abuse
• Stay away from the home, workplace and school of the petitioner and any children involved in the situation
• Avoid perpetrating any additional family offenses or any acts that can endanger the welfare of any family members
• They are allowed to remove their personal property from the residence they share with the petitioner at a specific time determined by the court
• Can visit with children at specific places and times as determined by the court
• Do not intentionally injure or kill any pet owned by the petitioner or minor child who resides at the home

A violation of protection order can be filed by the petitioner if the respondent violates the order of protection. If it the violation is proven, the respondent can receive a six-month jail sentence for each violation. The order can also be modified. However, depending on the circumstances and severity of the violation, the case can be transferred to criminal court and the respondent may receive a harsher sentence.

The court may also revoke the respondent’s license to carry a firearm. It can also make the individual surrender any weapons they own if it is believed they would use them to commit further violent acts.

The petitioner has the legal right to file a family offense case in family court, criminal court or both. Both the petitioner and respondent have the legal right to an attorney in both courts as well.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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New York, NY 10005

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Astoria, NY 11106

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