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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