What Is an Order of Protection?

What is an Order of Protection by Joshua Katz

{3:40 minutes to read} An order of protection begins with a family offense petition.

A family offense petition is a petition filed in the family court where one party (the “petitioner”) alleges that another party (the “respondent”) committed an act that constitutes a “family offense.”

A family offense is only between family members or people that share an intimate relationship. It is not the same as a crime, and the burden of proof is far lower. The following is a list of the most common family offenses:

  • Harassment
  • Assault
  • Stalking
  • Threatening
  • Menacing
  • Strangling
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Forcible sexual touching
  • Some form of domestic violence

If you file a family offense petition and prove that you are entitled to some form of protection, then you can also get the judge to sign an order of protection.

A full order of protection would mean that the respondent would have to completely stay away from the petitioner, as well as the petitioner’s home, school or place of employment. The respondent would be barred from having any communication, including third-party communication; there is no contact allowed whatsoever with the petitioner.

An order of protection may also be limited to specific terms. It could be as simple as:

  • Do not harass the petitioner; or
  • Do not go to petitioner’s place of employment.

An order of protection is most commonly put in place for a maximum of two years, although it can be extended. If aggravated circumstances are proven (e.g. if a weapon was involved, or the act resulted in a serious injury), an order of protection could remain in place up to five years.

If you are living with someone, and your intimate partner gets an order of protection against you, you could be vacated from the residence. If the allegations involve the children, or the children were present or in any way endangered by the action, then you could be ordered to stay away from the children, as well. If the acts that were committed are also criminal, the family court has the discretion to refer you to the criminal court to be prosecuted.

An order of protection goes on your record, and the police are aware of it! You must surrender any firearms, even if you are licensed to carry – even if your employment requires that you carry a weapon, such as an armed security guard or policeman. So, there are serious consequences to having an order of protection filed against you; and if the court finds that you have violated an order of protection, you will go to jail.

If you need to file an order of protection, or if you are accused of committing a family offense, you need experienced lawyers like Plaine & Katz to represent you.

What would you do if a family member accused you of harassment and filed an order of protection against you?


Plaine & Katz, LLP
80-02 Kew Gardens Rd.
Suite # 1050
Kew Gardens, NY 11415
Website: PlaineKatz.com
Email: josh@plainekatz.com, mark@plainekatz.com

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