If your neighbor is harassing you, can you get an order of protection against them in New York? Have you ever seen the show "Fear Thy Neighbor"? It's a true crime docu-series that comes on Investigation Discovery. It tells the story of many neighborly relationships that have gone sour, most of them ending in one or more deaths.

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That's the stuff nightmares are made of, right? Imagine living next to someone who terrorizes you and your family in the place you're supposed to feel the safest - YOUR HOME.

What Is An Order Of Protection?

If you do end up in a situation where a neighbor is threatening you, can you seek a restraining order through the courts? Generally, they require that the person your order of protection is against stay away from you, so how would that work against a neighbor?

According to the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence,

An order of protection is a court order requiring one person to do, or not do, certain things if a crime is committed.

Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash
Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash

There are various types of orders of protection,

Stay-away or full orders: the parties must “stay away” and have no contact directly or through third parties. Refrain from or limited orders: the parties can have contact but must refrain from committing family offenses or criminal offenses (like harassing, assault, stalking, etc.).

An order could require the party it's against to stay away from the victim, not commit any harmful acts against the victim, allow a person to go to a residence with law enforcement, make the party it's against surrender their guns, and many other requirements as determined by the judge.

Can You File For An Order Of Protection Against A Neighbor In New York?

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina 🇺🇦 on Unsplash
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina 🇺🇦 on Unsplash

You couldn't legally file for a restraining order against a neighbor because you don't like how they park their car or because they decorate their house for Christmas earlier than you think it should be. However, if a neighbor committed a crime against you, you can get an order of protection.

A criminal court order of protection is issued as a condition of a defendant’s release and/or bail in a criminal case. A criminal court order of protection may only be issued against a person who has been charged with a crime. There does not need to be a relationship between the complaining witness and the defendant.

So, for instance, if your neighbor threatened you or your family with a weapon and was arrested, you could receive a criminal court order of protection once they make bail. The district attorney will request it on your behalf and the judge will decide the terms.

For more on filing an order of protection in New York State click here.

*This article is not intended to provide legal advice or counsel

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