NYC Family Offense Petition Lawyers
Disputes among family members is not unusual. Most families manage to work through the issue and come to agreeable terms. However, there are times when one person’s emotions rise to a level that requires legal intervention. This is known as a family offense petition.
What is a Family Offense Petition?
A family offense petition is filed in a New York State family court that explains the claims one family member makes against another. The petition may cover one or more of certain alleged acts such as:
• Aggravated harassment in the second degree
• Assault in the second or third degree
• Attempted assault
• Criminal mischief
• Criminal obstruction of breathing or circulation
• Forcible touching
• Harassment in the first or second degree
• Reckless endangerment
• Sexual misconduct
There must be a familiar/intimate relationship between the Petitioner (person filing the petition) and the Respondent (person responding to the petition). The legal criteria for this requirement includes legally married persons, blood relatives, divorced persons, and unrelated persons who have a child together.
Filing a Family Offense Petition
Filing a family offense petition starts a process where several things can happen. The petitioner can have a court appearance the same day that the petition is filed. During this court appearance, the judge may decide evidence shows good cause for a temporary order of protection, one will be granted.
If evidence does not make the petition legally sufficient, an order of protection is not granted and the judge will dismiss the petition.
A lawyer experienced with New York family law can assist with drafting a family offense petition to ensure an efficient filing that does not get dismissed.
Courts That Issue Family Offense Petitions
A Family Court issues family offense petitions in most cases. However, a Criminal Court may also issue orders in extreme circumstances or if Family Court is not in session.
In cases where the respondent denies allegations, the judge will require a fact-finding hearing to determine where the allegations are true. The case can be dismissed after the hearing if the judge determines nothing occurred. A dispositional hearing is held when allegations are found to be true.
Going to Trial
The petitioner is responsible for proving the family offense petition by a preponderance of evidence. This includes evidence such as:
• Police reports
• Medical records
• Damaged items
• Written statements
Likewise, the respondent must present evidence to the family court to defend against the petition. A trial can end with a dismissed petition or dispositional order.
Dispositional orders can have many stipulations, including up to a one year probation for the respondent. Some orders suspend judgment for six months, while others order the respondent to pay up to $10,000 in restitution.
Additionally, dispositional orders may contain other requirements by which the respondent must abide. These requirements may include:
• Staying away from the petitioner
• Not going to petitioner’s job or children’s school
• Paying medical bills petitioner incurred from abuse-related injuries
• Paying petitioner’s legal fees
• Participating in a battery and/or substance abuse program
The final order may also give the respondent time to remove personal belongings from a shared residence. Visitation with children may also be granted if the court deems safety is not an issue for the children.
What Happens after an Order of Protection Violation
There are consequences to a respondent violating the order of protection once the petitioner files a violation petition. The court can modify the protective order and give the respondent up to six months jail time for each violation.
It is also possible to transfer the case to Criminal Court when a violation puts the petitioner and/or children at risk for physical harm. The court can either suspend or revoke the respondent’s license to carry firearms. The respondent may also be forced to turn in any firearms they may own.
Reaching a Settlement in a Family Offense Petition
At any time during proceedings for a family offense petition, the petitioner and respondent can reach a settlement. If this happens, a determination of fault is made and terms of the final order are issued.
Getting Help from Qualified NYC Family Offense Petition Lawyers
Help from an experienced and qualified lawyer is essential to a family offense petition. Dissolution of the case comes with long-lasting effects. This type of petition can also impact a child support or child custody case.