Orders of Protection

Orders of Protection

Orders of Protection (“OP”) are orders issued by the court which direct a party to observe specific conditions of behavior. An OP can direct a party to “stay away” from another person, their home, school or place of business. An OP can direct a person to “refrain from” certain types of behavior, including refrain from: assault, harassment, intimidation and other behavior against another person.

Orders of Protection are issued in non-criminal matters between, a current or former spouse, a person with whom you have a child in common, another family member related by blood or marriage, and people who have an “intimate relationship”, which may include boyfriends and girlfriends, and new spouses of a person’s former spouse.

An Order of Protection is brought by filing a family offense petition or application in either the Family Courts or Supreme Courts of the State of New York. A family offense petition or application must allege that a person against whom the OP is sought violated one of a specific list of enumerated penal law offenses. A family offense proceeding is not a criminal action. The law simply uses the specific penal law offenses to determine if a “family offense” has been committed entitling the victim to an OP. The burden of proof to obtain an Order of Protection is proof by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a much lower standard of proof than that required in a criminal case where a criminal offense must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict a defendant and permit the court to issue an Order of Protection.

Specific family offenses include: assault, harassment, menacing, reckless endangerment, stalking and disorderly conduct.

Mr. Pickney has litigated numerous family offense petitions, both seeking and opposing the issuance of Orders of Protection in the Family Courts of the State of New York.