Is An Appeal Of An Order Of Protection Moot If The Order Has Expired

New York's highest court, The Court of Appeals, has ruled that a properly filed appeal of an Order of Protection (O/P) can still be decided (it is not "moot") even though the O/P has expired due to the far reaching significance of a determination that a Family Offense has occurred.

The Family Court grants a final O/P either on consent of the person alleged to have committed a Family Offense or after a hearing and a determination that a Family Offense has occurred. An order on consent cannot be appealed because it is based on an agreement. A decision after a hearing may be appealed. Because the appeal process can be lengthy both in terms of the time needed to prepare the brief, attend oral argument and then await decision, it is possible that the final O/P which usually lasts one year may expire before the appeal is decided.

The Court of Appeals just decided that the appeal should still be determined even after the O/P has expired because the finding that a Family Offense occurred may affect a person in their divorce case, custody case, may cause the person to be labeled as a person who commits domestic violence, may affect future police interaction and may affect future employment and that therefore a determination must be made of the appeal.

This decision cements once again the seriousness of applications for Orders of Protection and the need for experienced legal advice whether you are seeking or defending against such an application.