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Obtaining an Order of Protection, also known as a “stay away order” or restraining order, in NYC can be a life-saving legal document. Depending on your reason for your Order of Protection, the order can:
If you feel your life or safety is at immediate risk, call 911. If you are seeking protection from a possible life or safety threatening issue, you should visit your local police department to file an Order of Protection. If this is an issue you have been anticipating, if you have already experienced issues with an Order of Protection, or you have ongoing family law issues, you should consult an Order of Protection lawyer to ensure all issues are documented and able to be legally used in a court of law. Here are a few examples of what a lawyer who specializes in Order of Protection may help you with:
If a child or loved one’s safety is involved, having an Order of Protection and documenting any incidents that violate a standing Order of Protection are critical to your case. Someone who has been instructed, by law, to leave you alone but continues to seek an audience with you and/or harass you by physical or digital means may be in violation of your Order of Protection. To understand how your Order of Protection works, you’ll want to speak with your lawyer and get clear-cut guidelines for what is a violation, what needs to be reported, and how to report it. In many cases, your lawyer will be available to answer questions and meet you at the police station, if required.
Chances are, if you need to file an Order of Protection, you are dealing with an unpredictable, volatile, and potentially violent individual. You want to avoid confrontation with this individual at all costs. While an Order of Protection provides a legal basis to charge someone who violates the order with a crime, it is not a physical deterrent to danger. If you suspect or know that this individual is knocking on your door or attempting to enter your home, you must call the police. Your Order of Protection lawyer will be able to provide details on exactly what you need to do legally, but if you believe you are in physical danger you must always call 911.
It’s a common misconception that a restraining order is reserved for someone who you had a marriage or sexual relationship with. While the language surrounding the law says an “Order of Protection can be filed against someone you had an intimate relationship with,” the court defines intimate. Intimate is not necessarily a physical relationship; it can depend on many factors. If you are concerned about the behavior of an acquaintance, former friend, online friend, or anyone else, you should consult with an Order of Protection lawyer to see if your restraining order is worth pursuing.
It can be emotionally exhausting to file for an Order of Protection. Remember that as the victim of harassment, you have nothing to be ashamed of. The fear you have is normal, but there are legal ways to protect you from harm and harassment. Don’t be afraid to find out if an Order of Protection is possible.
Divorce is one of the most difficult things a person will go through. The proceedings may come with heightened emotions, fights, and tension. For many people, though, divorce is a better option than continuing to live with their spouse. If a spouse is abusive or any type of domestic violence issue is at play, it’s important to go through the divorce process as efficiently and safely as you can.
One of many potential issues throughout a divorce is a need for an Order of Protection. These legal orders, also sometimes called restraining orders, can become necessary in instances where a person is being threatened, abused, stalked, or sexually harassed. The goal of the Order of Protection is to provide legal protection for an abused party against their abuser.
It takes a lot of courage to end a marriage no matter what the circumstances. But when abuse is a factor, getting out of the marriage can sometimes seem impossible. You may be afraid that your spouse will retaliate against you or your children. It’s important for you to have a smooth transition from living with your spouse to living independently.
If any kind of violence or abuse is going on under your roof, the most common legal recourse is to seek an Order of Protection. This document will outline terms regarding your spouse’s proximity to you and behavior toward you. It will limit their ability to contact you as well. The goal is to make sure you stay physically and emotionally safe while the divorce process is ongoing.
In cases where you have children under the age of 18, the Order of Protection will also extend to them. This can be a huge relief for spouses who fear for their children as well as themselves.
One of the best things you can do is hire an experienced lawyer to help you get the Order of Protection. Your lawyer will be able to examine the facts of the case and gather the necessary evidence. They’ll also provide you with resources and explain your options going forward. Everything your lawyer does will be done with the goal of serving your best interest.
Needing to file an Order of Protection is scary. You might be feeling frightened, overwhelmed, and like there’s no one to turn to. Your lawyer can provide emotional support and be an impartial anchor. They don’t have the same emotional involvement in the situation that you do, so they can get the objective facts necessary to convince a judge. They’ll also make sure all the paperwork is filed accurately and appropriately.
There are specific situations in which you can seek an Order of Protection. You need to make sure your circumstances apply before you file your paperwork.
If any act has involved physical violence or physical abuse, that’s grounds for an Order of Protection. But the abuse doesn’t have to be physical. Harassment and emotional abuse that cause you distress are also grounds for an Order of Protection.
Intimidating a dependent is grounds for protection for both you and the dependent. Any interference with your personal freedom counts as well, as does any kind of deprivation that can cause you mental, emotional, or physical harm.
There are three main types of protection order you might pursue.
One is an emergency order. This is an order typically put into place if you feel you’ll be in danger should your spouse know you intend to file an Order of Protection. For this type of order, your spouse doesn’t need to appear in court or even be informed about the order prior to its issue. You’ll go straight to the judge to make your case.
Emergency orders are filed on a temporary basis, typically lasting 2 to 3 weeks. They’ll expire when you have your official hearing for a longer-term Order of Protection.
The second type is an interim order. You don’t need a full hearing for this type. With that said, the accused abuser has the right to come to court and present their case. This is typically issued after an emergency order expires if a person is still waiting for a full hearing.
The third order is a plenary order. This cannot be issued until the case has been presented in a full hearing. Both involved parties may present their evidence. This order can last a maximum of two years and can be renewed as often as necessary.
You may find yourself in a situation in which there is the need to prevent another person from harassing or causing injury to you or a member of your family. This is where the concept of obtaining an Order of Protection comes into play. Depending on the nature of the relationship and the circumstances surrounding the request, your lawyer will seek to secure this order from a different court system. Here are some examples.
A Family Court Order of Protection
This particular type of order is designed to set limits on interactions between family members or others who are considered part of an intimate relationship. This order is often part of an overall civil action and helps to ensure a certain amount of space is maintained between the person seeking the order and the individual who is named in the action. The goal is to create circumstances that do not include the opportunity for verbal or physical abuse to take place.
This type of protection order can be used to ensure that an abusive spouse maintains a certain physical distance from the abused party. When the couple have children, the terms of the order may ensure that contact is made only when a third party is present and in a position to protect those children.
Other family members may choose to secure an order when a relative acts in a threatening or abusive manner. This means if an adult child or cousin poses what appears to be a real threat, the odds of securing this type of order are very good.
When it comes to defining an intimate relationship, don’t think that the court will only consider situations in which some sort of physical relationship has occurred between the two parties. For the purposes of the court, intimacy can be defined as living under the same roof, or having spent a lot of time together in the past. This means a family court can issue a protection order against a former tenant or housemate if the need arises.
A Criminal Court Order of Protection
When there is a criminal case pending and the accused party is released on bail, it is possible to obtain a protection order that bars any contact between the defendant and the plaintiff. Should the defendant violate the terms of the order, he or she could easily find that the bail is revoked and it is necessary to remain in jail until the case is heard in a court of law.
A Supreme Court Order of Protection
This particular type of protection order is found in divorce cases currently underway. If there is reason to prevent one party from seeking to interact with the other party, the judge can step in and issue an order that establishes limitations on how close the defendant can come to the plaintiff. The order will also provide specific circumstances that must prevail during those times. For example, the order may allow both parties to be present in a conference room with their attorneys while the terms of a settlement are reached. The order may extend to attempting to communicate by means of emails, letters sent through the post, or text messages.
What Happens When an Order is Violated?
If the accused party fails to comply with each stipulation in the protection order, severe consequences will follow. This is especially true if the order was issued by a criminal court or a Supreme court. Since the action is seen as being in contempt of the court ruling, it is possible for the individual to face arrest. If the person is already out on bail pending any other offense, the bail will be revoked.
With family court protection orders, the individual may or may not be arrested. The person who is threatened by the action can contact an attorney and file a complaint with the court. Depending on the type of infraction that took place, the court will decide on the most appropriate action.
There is no need to deal with people who seek to do harm physically or emotionally. Talk with our attorneys about the type of protection order that would provide peace of mind. Doing so will ensure that the harassment ceases and it is possible to move forward with whatever action is underway.
Orders of Protection are intended to limit or stop someone from threatening or harming another person and is often used to protect children. These types of orders are not limited only to threats or abuse or only in domestic situations.
Some protective orders are given to companies against employees. A business or other organization may want to prevent an employee from violating a non-disclosure agreement or to force them to refrain from making damaging statements about their company publicly.
Criminal courts, Family courts, and Supreme Courts all issue orders of protection for some of the following reasons:
There are also several types of protective orders such as:
Witnesses to crimes are often given orders of protection as are the victims of crime. Law enforcement personnel may request orders of protection for crime victims or those who may be vulnerable due to a crime.
In New York, if you are related to someone through blood or marriage, you can file a protective order in Family Court. You can also obtain an order of protection against them even if you were never married but had an intimate relationship. To file an order of protection in Criminal Court, you don’t have to be related to a person nor have had an intimate relationship.¹
The content and language of each order of protection will be unique to a person’s individual situation. If you are the victim of verbal or online threats, your protection order may include orders directed at the person in question, advising them not to contact you by phone, email or in person, through writing or through someone else.
The order may state that the defendant to the order must attend a drug rehabilitation facility or anger management counseling. There may be an order to vacate a shared residence or that a person may not come within a certain distance of you, your children or your residence.
It is your responsibility to tell your lawyer all the facts and elements of your case so that all precautions can be included in your order of protection.
There can be evidence presented to corroborate your testimony as well as witnesses to any abuse or threats you have received. A judge will listen to all elements before ordering protection. If the same person was issued an order of protection in another state, the court will need to know that as well or if they have had prior incidences of abuse against others. The whole history of a defendant to an order of protection will be recorded and used to determine the language of your protection order.
If you are in an abusive or dangerous relationship with anyone or you are in fear of harm by any person, you need to file an order of protection against that particular person, group or any other entity which poses a threat to your safety and well-being.
Anyone over the age of 18 can file for a protection order themselves through a city or district court. There are individual cases where a minor may be granted an order of protection without a parent’s consent if getting their parents involved would create a dangerous situation for the minor. The judge may appoint a guardian ad litem or law guardian for the minor. These are also cases where the court will make a judgment based on all the facts of the minor’s situation.²
Seeking the legal counsel of a lawyer will tell you whether you can file an order and in which court you would need to file. In the event you need an order of protection in any situation, it is always wise to seek legal advice as there are many elements to a protective order that you need to understand, including what it means for yourself and the other person, and what happens if the order of protection is violated.
¹NY Courts.Gov, Information regarding Order of Protection, New York City Court, https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/family/op_info.pdf (accessed Dec 3, 2017).
²New York Restraining Orders, Womens Law, https://www.womenslaw.org/laws/ny/restraining-orders/all (last visited Jan 11, 2018).
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