Man arrested in Rensselaerville for DWI, violating order of protection

— Photo from the NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
New York State has two types of protective orders: stay-away or full orders, in which the parties may have no contact directly or through third parties, and refrain-from or limited orders in which the parties may have contact but must refrain from family or criminal offenses like harassing or assault.

RENSSELAERVILLE — After a Middleburgh man was taken into custody in Rensselaerville last month on charges of driving while intoxicated, he is believed to have repeatedly violated an order of protection from his wife that prevents him from contacting her except in matters relating to their children. 

Records obtained by The Enterprise through a Freedom of Information Law request state that the man was first found by a sergeant with the Albany County Sheriff’s Department on Jan. 10 while sitting in a truck in an unidentified person’s driveway. The sheriff’s office was responding to a call about a similar truck parked along the side of the road.

The man’s name is being withheld because using it would identify his wife and The Enterprise has a policy not to identify crime victims. 

The man was believed to have been drunk, with his blood alcohol level measuring at .217 percent, well over the legal limit of .08, and was placed under arrest, records state, and at this time it was noted that the man was subject to orders of protection, but the nature of an order regarding the man’s wife appears to have been misunderstood.

After the man was released from custody that night, records indicate that police reviewed the orders of protection “and learned that the Order of Protection involving his wife is not a ‘Refrain From,’ it is a ‘Stay Away’ with stipulations. (S) is allowed, by conditions of the Order, to contact his wife …. (V), only when ‘pertaining to matters concerning the children and parenting time per the Albany County Family Court Order of Custody … dated/signed August 8, 2022, or any subsequently filed Family Court and Supreme Court Orders concerning custody/parenting time.’” 

The records state that police followed up with the man’s wife on Jan. 11, and that she informed them that the man had called her and was speaking with her just before police approached him on Jan. 10. The wife also shared text messages from that night with police, and she told police that she was “frightened of (S) due to threats he has made against her in the past.”

The records note that, during her interview with police, the man called his wife “multiple times.”

The man has been charged with first-offense driving while intoxicated, operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content above .08 percent, aggravated DWI per se - no prior, and second-degree criminal contempt. 

Other records indicate that the man had been flagged by the Albany County Department for Children, Youth, and Families in 2017 for “inadequate guardianship” and “parent drug/alcohol use.” 

Those records state that, in one episode, the man “became verbally abusive” toward his wife while she was holding their son, and, when she went to another area in their home to avoid him, he followed her and “was throwing and kicking objects around while the child was in the direct vicinity,” though the child was not injured.

The records state that the man was arrested for this incident and that an order of protection was issued.

The records also state that there were “reported concerns” that the man hit a child with a golf club “for unknown reasons on an unknown date,” and also concerns that he had driven while intoxicated with children in the car. 

The order of protection for his wife, which was signed in November 2022, states that, in addition to staying away from his wife’s home, place of business, and school, the man is also prohibited from owning firearms.

Failure to comply with the terms of the order, it says, “may subject you to mandatory arrest and criminal prosecution, which may result in your incarceration for up to seven years for criminal contempt, and/or may subject you to family court prosecution and incarceration for up to six months for contempt of court.”


Orders of protection

Bernard Amador, a caseworker for the Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center, told The Enterprise this week that orders of protection are often issued at arraignments, but that victims can also have them put in place on an emergency basis by visiting their local family court and filling out a petition.

“In the petition, they would explain their reasons why they need the order of protection; and if there’s a criminal matter at the same time, they can bring copies of their police report to the family court so they can get that order of protection put in place,” he said.

Typically, the orders are in place for six months, Amador said, at which point they may be extended if necessary. 

He said he did not know how many orders of protection are in place in Albany County, and could not offer a general perspective on how effective they are.

“In my personal experience, I think the orders of protection are effective,” he said.

Amador noted that it’s wise for anyone who’s protected by such an order to distribute copies around the locations they frequent, so that their associates are aware of the terms and can help protect that person. 

“Normally, the order of protection designates a specific place the offender has to stay away from, whether it’s a home or a place of work,” Amador said. “So, it’s important to give copies to the [human resources] department, to the principal's office, so that everyone’s put on notice so that if the offender comes and violates the order, police can come and have the offender arrested.”



Missouri records indicate that the man appears to have pleaded guilty in that state to DWI at least once before, in 2001, and was sentenced to two weeks of shock incarceration after violating a related probation. He also appears to have pleaded guilty to violating an order of protection in Missouri in 2011, for which he was fined $300. 

Albany County records suggest that the man and his wife are currently involved in a contested divorce case.

The man could not be reached by The Enterprise for comment. 

The spokesman for the Albany County District Attorney’s Office, Darrell Camp, told The Enterprise that the man has not yet entered a plea and that the office is “scheduled to file compliance with discovery in about four weeks.”

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