Albany Family Offense Lawyer
When conflict in a family leads to fear or violence, you and your loved ones may not know what to do. It is difficult to imagine a more threatening situation than one involving harm from your spouse, significant other, or a family member. If you feel in danger at any time, you should call the police and find safety quickly. Once you have ensured your safety, you should also contact an Albany family offense lawyer for help.
Domestic violence is pervasive and destructive, but our team of attorneys know how to take legal action that could help keep you and your family safe. Having an advocate by your side can make it easier to take the next steps to removing yourself and your family from this situation.
What Happens when Family Violence Occurs in Albany
In Albany, a family offense may constitute domestic violence or criminal activity in the home. As such, these offenses may include behaviors like harassment, assault, sexual abuse, disorderly conduct, menacing, stalking, endangerment, and criminal contempt. It is important to note that for a family offense to occur, this person does not have to be related or married to the person experiencing the household violence.
Domestic violence may involve unmarried people who share children, anyone in a romantic relationship, or any individuals who live together. There is concurrent jurisdiction with family and criminal courts, and so these offenses can result in serious charges and jail time.
Filing a Family Offense Petition
When someone experiences physical abuse or is threatened with violence, a petitioner may file a Family Offense Petition in family court. The petition must name the respondent and essential details about the abuse. These matters are considered emergent, and a court may allow the petitioner to appear in court immediately. Typically, the respondent is not in court during the emergency hearing. A judge or referee will decide whether to issue a temporary order of protection, and then set a hearing date. At this hearing, the respondent has the option to tell their side of the story and defend themselves in court. After this hearing the judge can then decide whether to issue a permanent order.
Based on what the petitioner alleges, they can request specific forms of protection. For example, if the respondent threatened violence, the petitioner may ask for an order to keep this person away. An Albany attorney skilled in the process of filing these petitions can help someone through the family offense case process.
A Court’s Power Regarding Family Offenses
After the initial hearing, the court will take testimony from both sides. If the allegations are not proven, the court will dismiss the case and void the temporary order. If proven, the court can order a wide variety of remedies in the final order of protection that are specific to the facts of the case. The terms of these protection orders may require the respondent to:
- Stay away from the petitioner, any shared children, and the home, school, or place of employment of the petitioner
- Pay counsel fees or restitution for medical bills or property damage
- Move out of the home
- Remove all guns from the home
The petitioner has the right to bring the case to criminal court as well as family court. Criminal cases may result in incarceration. An Albany lawyer who has experience with domestic violence and family offense cases could collect the evidence needed to protect a petitioner and their family. If the respondent violates an order of protection, the petitioner can file a violation petition, and the court may impose further sanctions.
Contact an Albany Family Offense Attorney for Help
Violence among family members can be alarming. If you find yourself threatened or harmed by a family member, you may need all the support and immediate help the law provides. Our team of Albany family offense lawyers know how to navigate these problematic events quickly and with compassion. If you are afraid that violence might escalate in your home — or if it already has — call us for the assistance you need. We all deserve to feel secure in our homes. Let our attorneys help you find this security.