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Domestic violence cases cover a wide range of legal issues and concerns.  Someone accused of domestic violence may be charged criminally with either misdemeanor or felony Abuse of a Family or Household Member (AFHM), or violation of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or Order for Protection (VOP).  Additionally, they may be served with a civil Petition for an Order for Protection and TRO.  If you are arrested for criminal abuse charges you should seek legal advice immediately.  Along with the arrest there is a stay away order issued by the police which, if violated, can lead to additional criminal charges.  Furthermore, if you are convicted of abuse charges, either felony or misdemeanor, there are mandatory jail sentences which must be imposed as well as domestic violence counseling classes and extended terms of probation.

Separate from the criminal charges you may be served with a Family Court restraining order and Petition for an Order for Protection.  This is a civil proceeding which does not generate a criminal record.  While these proceedings are not criminal, they nevertheless can have consequences with employment, child custody, and your ability to legally possess firearms.  While it is advisable to consult with an attorney for these proceedings, you are not constitutionally entitled to an attorney.

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