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:
- Define if the party can contact you or not.
- Enforce what type of contact is permissible.
- Be part of a step to charge the offending party with a crime.
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:
Building a case for full-custody
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.
Protecting yourself and your loved ones from harm
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.
Filing an Order of Protection from someone other than a spouse or loved one
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.