What is a Temporary Restraining Order?
Also referred to as Orders of Protection, Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO) are court orders designed to prohibit an individual from engaging in specifically designated activities in relation to another person or entity. Individuals may be restrained by the terms of the TRO from physically approaching another individual and require them to remain at least a minimum amount of distance at all times. The order may bar the person from entering a place of business or other facility for a specified period of time. It may also prohibit an individual from making contact by means of social media, text messaging, email, or by post. The court is likely to issue this type of order when there is reason to believe the accused party is likely to damage the protected party in some manner.
What’s the Legal Basis for a TRO in New York City?
The basis cited by the courts for a TRO in New York City is found in the 2012 New York Consolidated Laws of Civil Practice Law and Rules. While this type of order is mentioned in several articles, Article 63 is especially of note to anyone who wonders if they have the grounds for seeking a TRO. Specifically, Injunction 6313 in Article 63 reads:
“Temporary restraining order. (a) Generally. If, on a motion for a preliminary injunction, the plaintiff shall show that immediate and irreparable injury, loss or damages will result unless the defendant is restrained before a hearing can be had, a temporary restraining order may be granted without notice. Upon granting a temporary restraining order, the court shall set the hearing for the preliminary injunction at the earliest possible time. No temporary restraining order may be granted in an action arising out of a labor dispute as defined in section eight hundred seven of the labor law, nor against a public officer, board or municipal corporation of the state to restrain the performance of statutory duties.
(b) Service. Unless the court orders otherwise, a temporary restraining order together with the papers upon which it was based, and a notice of hearing for the preliminary injunction, shall be personally served in the same manner as a summons.
(c) Undertaking. Prior to the granting of a temporary restraining order the court may, in its discretion, require the plaintiff to give an undertaking in an amount to be fixed by the court, containing terms similar to those set forth in subdivision (b) of rule 6312, and subject to the exception set forth therein.”
Is There More Than One Type of TRO?
Temporary restraining orders in New York City are divided into two categories: criminal and family. Both types can be used to prohibit a person from coming near a person, stay away from a business or other location, and in some cases even prohibit an individual from carrying a firearm for a time.
With a family restraining order, the plaintiff may request restrictions on the actions or movements of a defendant who currently or previously had what is considered by the court to be an intimate relationship with the requesting party. By intimate, the court is referring to connections in which there is or was some type of connection between the two parties. Examples include separated or former spouses, children, parents, and other blood relatives. Current or former coworkers would also be considered an intimate relationship.
Seeking a family restraining order does not require any advance legal action involving the defendant. You do not have to notify the party of your pending request. A lawyer can prepare the documents necessary to petition the court. Your lawyer will be notified if the petition is approved, and you will have a copy of the order.
Criminal restraining orders are somewhat similar to family restraining orders, with one important difference. In order to seek this type of TRO, the defendant must be arrested or have a warrant out for his or her arrest. For example, you’ve been assaulted by a coworker. The activity was reported to the local authorities and a warrant for arrest is issued. At that time, it’s possible to seek a TRO through the New York Criminal Court.
Is It Possible to Convert the TRO into a Permanent Restraining Order?
While it’s possible to convert a temporary order into a permanent, the court system in New York City requires close scrutiny of the situation before making this type of change. Having a lawyer who can help prepare the request is key. It is necessary to provide a compelling case for the change in terms of protecting the individual from harm. In the case of a business taking action against an individual, the request must demonstrate how a permanent order would prevent the individual from undermining the company and causing some type of loss in revenue, operation, or reputation.
Can the Orders Be Enforced Outside the City?
Yes. Laws like the 2014 Violence Against Women Act provides for enforcing a TRO outside of the city and even outside the state. Depending on the nature of the order and the type of violation that takes place, the consequences can be significant. The offending party could face a fine or be placed in jail for a period of time. If there is some other legal action pending, such as a divorce or child custody case, the violation of the TRO can be introduced into the family court and could affect the outcome of that case.
There’s a reason why an TRO is sometimes called a temporary order of protection. The intent is to protect the well being of a person or entity until a matter can be resolved. With the help of a lawyer, it’s possible to understand what type of evidence the court requires, how the order functions, and even what to do if any violation of that order should take place. If you believe you have grounds for requesting a temporary restraining order, speak with a lawyer today. The TRO could be in place a lot sooner than most people realize.