Going to Court

There are two courts for victims of domestic violence, Family and Criminal Court. You can go to criminal court and family court at the same time.

Criminal Court

Your abuser will be taken to criminal court if an arrest has been made. You can call the courthouse or the District Attorney's office for information about your case. The District Attorney can take your abuser to criminal court with or without your involvement.

Matters to Consider

  • The judge could put your abuser in jail or on probation and order counseling.
  • You don't have to pay for a lawyer.
  • You need more proof for a conviction.

Family Court

You can file a petition against your abuser in family court if you and the abuser are married, are divorced, are related by blood, or have a child in common but aren't married. The District Attorney's office cannot help you in family court.

Matters to Consider

  • It's easier to get an order of protection.
  • You don't need as much evidence - your word may be enough.
  • You are responsible for dealing with the legal system unless you hire or are assigned an attorney.
  • A family court judge can expedite your case.