Are Restraining Orders Public Record in NY? New York Restraining Order Search

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Criminal Records | April 29, 2024

Man looking at a computer screen of public records and the state of New York with an order of protection wonders are restraining orders public record in NY?

Are restraining orders public record in NY?

This answer to this question can be tricky because whether or not the public can see a restraining order in New York depends on a couple of factors, namely if the order was the result of a criminal event, and if the order was issued in relation to a family court ruling.

By using a New York restraining order search, many people can find out are restraining orders public records in NY or not. 

Although there is no specific database that tracks restraining orders in the state, there are several ways for individuals to search for information about restraining orders or protective orders to see if they will hinder a job application or other background check report.

Are Restraining Orders Public Record in NY?

The first thing that many individuals want to know when trying to find information about a restraining order is, are restraining orders public record in NY? Unfortunately, the answer is somewhat complicated and whether or not there is a publicly available record of a restraining order being filed will depend on a few different factors.

The biggest factor that will determine if the restraining order, or protective order as they are sometimes referred to, will appear on public records is where the court that the order was filed. The Freedom of Information Act makes all court records publicly available, however, there are several exceptions to this.9

The idea around the Freedom of Information Act is to give the public access to information that is in the interest of the public. This definition clearly extends to criminal issues as the safety of the public could be at risk.

However, family matters are somewhat more complicated.

Even though family court records are considered public automatically, they don’t always contain information that is in the public interest and will also contain lots of personal information about the family, which could include private information about children. Because of this, many family court records will be sealed by the judge, since the information is not essential to the public and because the court records will contain private information.

This practice will play a major role in whether or not restraining orders are available publicly.

With all that said, when it comes to restraining orders public in NY, the main factor will be if the restraining order was filed in a family court, as opposed to being filed in a criminal court. Family court records are often sealed so protective orders filed in these courts will usually be sealed and therefore not available to the public.

On the other hand, criminal records are only sealed in specific circumstances and will likely be public information. Restraining orders filed in criminal court will usually be available to the public.

Does a Restraining Order Go on Your Record?

In regards to, does a restraining order appear on your record, the same issues faced if the information is public will play a role here. With the exceptions of background checks performed by official agencies, such as the FBI’s Identity History Summary Check, the majority of background checks will only be able to view publicly available records.4

This is because most pre-employment background checks, simply perform searches of various court databases across the country. Generally, these searches will not include family and civil court databases and will rely exclusively on criminal databases.

As mentioned, most family court records are sealed upon being officially filed. When it comes to background checks revealing restraining orders, this will generally only happen if the restraining order was filed in criminal court.

How long a restraining order stays on your record will depend on the state’s laws and even if the order was filed in family court and was never sealed, most private background checks will still not find this information since what appears on a background check for employment are criminal court records.

Restraining Order Background Check

Performing a restraining order background check can be an effective first step when trying to determine if someone has a restraining order filed against them. This can be done in a few different ways, but the use of an online background check service will likely be the best option in most cases.

Individuals can use the search bar at the top of this page to perform a public records search of any name that they enter. This will find all public information available on the individual which will include restraining order information, as long as it has not been sealed.

Unsealed family court records and criminal court records will both be present in these checks.

Besides the search bar available at the top of the page, individuals can also use a number of other online background check services. Keep in mind that many of these online agencies will operate on a monthly subscription service, although there are several that offer free a 7-day free trial background check.

Finally, no matter which service individuals choose to go with, it is important that the check includes both civil and criminal record checks. This will give individuals the best chance of finding restraining order records, although there is a good chance that information will simply not be available to the public and thus will not appear on the check.

How To Find Order of Protection Online in NY

Many people will be looking for ways to find the order of protection online in New York. As mentioned, in situations where the county the order would have been filed in is known, searching court records will be the best and most direct option.

Screenshot of NY Courts website page for e-courts with yellow arrow on New York State Unified Court System.

Anyone may search court records in New York using the Unified Court System, however, individuals need to know the file number or docket number to find specific cases.

Individuals living in NY are able to view court records using the NY Court online record system.6 The system is extremely simple to use and individuals can use the helpful guide provided by the NY courts that gives a step-by-step process for how to search and request various records as well as other helpful information regarding the court records system.6

When it comes to restraining orders, individuals should search both criminal court records in the county where the order would have been filed, as well as family court records in the same county. Links to the online record-keeping system for every court in the state can be found on the NY courts website.8

NY Order of Protection Lookup

Some individuals will be looking for a NY order of protection lookup, however, the steps for finding records of restraining orders and orders of protection will be the same. Although there are sometimes differences between a restraining order and an order of protection, the state of New York uses the terms interchangeably and there is no legal difference between the two in the state.

How To Find Out if an Order of Protection Is Still in Effect

When it comes to how to find out if an order of protection is still in effect, individuals will have a couple of different options available. First, both individuals involved in a restraining order will be required to attend a court hearing regarding the order.

Both individuals will receive court documents that outline the exact parameters of the restraining order. This will include what kind of contact is allowed, as well as how long the restraining order is in effect.

However, some individuals might have misplaced these documents and will be looking for an alternative way to check. Unfortunately, these court documents are the only reliable way to learn this information since there is no online database with this kind of information.

Although the records may be sealed, the individuals involved in the case will still be able to request these records from the court the same as any other public records. Individuals who were the defendant or petitioners in the case will be able to request these records to view the terms of the order.

How Can I Get a Copy of My Order of Protection?

Individuals wondering, how can I get a copy of my order of protection, should be able to do so fairly easily. As long as the individual requesting the record is either the defendant or the petitioner, the records can be accessed as normal.

Screenshot of NY Courts website page for e-courts with yellow arrow on file/docket searches.

The online system also allows users to search using the attorney’s name or the court calendar.

Individuals can request the records through the NY court online records system or by visiting the court where the order was filed.7

Restraining Order vs Order of Protection

Many people are confused about what the differences are when it comes to a restraining order vs an order of protection.

In the state of New York and several other states, there is no difference between the two terms. They are used interchangeably to refer to the same thing: a legal order that keeps one individual from having contact with another individual.

Screenshot of City of New York website page for NY Police Department with yellow arrows on orders of protection.

Orders of protection filed through the family court are usually sealed and not available as a public record.

However, many states have specific legal definitions for both of these terms. For example, many states use the term protective order to refer to the order given by a judge that prevents an individual from contacting another individual and will use a restraining order to refer to an order given by a judge that prevents an individual from doing a specific action such as destroying property during divorce proceedings.

Individuals should look into their local laws to understand their state’s definition of these two terms.

How To Get an Order of Protection: Are Restraining Orders Public Record In NY?

When it comes to how to get an order of protection, the process will vary slightly from state to state.

Ideally, individuals should contact a lawyer that will help guide them through the process. However, it is possible to get an order of protection without the help of a lawyer.

Screenshot of NY Courts website page for domestic violence with yellow arrows on Order of Protection (Family Court) form.

The NY court system allows residents to file for orders of protection online using detailed forms that can be printed.

Individuals will likely need to first fill out a form to file for a TRO or temporary restraining order, for example in Colorado individuals will need to fill out form JDF 402.3 Although for the permanent restraining order hearing both parties will need to be present, a TRO hearing only requires the petitioner to be present.

In most cases, a hearing in front of a judge will be scheduled for the same day that the TRO form is filed. During this hearing, the individual will be able to plead their case as to why this individual is an imminent threat to the petitioner’s well-being.

Most TROs will last about two weeks. Assuming the TRO is granted, the judge will also schedule another hearing for the permanent restraining order, which will require both the petitioner and defendant to be present.

What Is a Criminal Court Order of Protection?

Some individuals might be confused by the term criminal court order of protection.

While most restraining orders are filed in civil or family court, in some cases a judge may file an order of protection in criminal court. This is usually done for criminal domestic violence cases, and can often be done without the request of the victim.

Temporary Order of Protection NY

A temporary order of protection NY is used to keep one individual from having any contact with another individual.1 Since both individuals are able to plead their case for a restraining order, a temporary order is used to keep the petitioner safe until the hearing for the permanent order is held, which can take several weeks.

In New York, temporary orders are in effect at least until the court date.

File Order of Protection Online NY

Individuals interested in how to file an order of protection online in NY will be able to get the process started by filing a Family offense petition with the NY courts.2 The process can be completed online.

How To Get an Order of Protection Dismissed in NY

Individuals wondering how to get an order of protection dismissed in NY should know the process isn’t easy and there is no surefire way to get a case dismissed. Individuals will want to contact an attorney in order to have the best chance of having the order dismissed.

How Is an Order of Protection Served?

Orders of protection are generally served in person to the individual. This is done in the same way that other court records are served, to ensure the individual can not claim they never received the documents.

Screenshot of State of New York website page for NY Alert with yellow arrows on Order of Protection Notification System.

The notification system can be used by victims to check the approval or issuance of an order of protection.

Individuals can check online with the NY order of protection notification system to see if their order was served.5

Are Restraining Orders Public Record in NY?

When it comes to are restraining orders public record in NY, only those that were filed in criminal court will be considered public records in most cases. However, individuals involved in the order are always able to request copies of the records through the courts.

Temporary Order of Protection Dismissed

Generally, when a judge has a temporary order of protection dismissed, it will vacate all existing orders. Individuals who had a temporary order dismissed but still feel they are in danger should contact an attorney for advice on the next steps to take.

How Long Does an Order of Protection Last in NY?

In regards to how long does an order of protection last in NY, a temporary order will generally last until the next court date at the very least. Whereas other orders will depend on a number of factors.

However, family protection orders filed in NY are good for 2 or 5 years and individuals can file to have these reinstated at the end of this time period.

Violation of Order of Protection NY

As far as the punishments for the violation of an order of protection in NY, the state of NY takes violations very seriously. A violation of a restraining order is considered criminal contempt and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Filing a restraining order can be a difficult and scary thing to do, no matter the circumstances. However, individuals should always research their state’s policies on orders of protection and be able to answer questions like, are restraining orders public record in NY?

Frequently Asked Questions About Are Restraining Orders Public Record in NY

Is There a NYS OOP Lookup?

The only way to look up orders of protection in New York State is through the court records where the order was filed.

What Are the Steps To Learn How To Look Up Order of Protection NYC Online?

Individuals can use the NY courts online record system to find information about orders of protection.8

What Is a NYS Order of Protection Lookup?

Orders of protection in NYS are used to keep one individual from contacting another individual.

Where Can I Find Order of Protection Notification System Link?

Individuals can find the order of protection notification system on the NY OOP alert website.5

Where Can I Search To Find Out How To Look Up the NYS Order of Protection?

Orders of protection in NYS can only be looked up via court records.

Where Can I Search To Find Out How To Get an Order of Protection in NY?

Individuals will need to file for a temporary order through the NY courts.2

What Is a Family Court Order of Protection?

Many orders of protection are filed in family court when there is little evidence of criminal activity.

What Is a No-Contact Order New York?

A no contact order prevents an individual from contacting another individual in any way such as physically, by text message or by mail.

What Is a Stay Away Order of Protection NY?

A stay away order prevents an individual from having any physical contact with an individual and requires they stay away from the individual’s residence, work, school etc.

Can You Get an Order of Protection for Harassment in New York?

Individuals can obtain an order or protection if there feel they are in imminent danger due to another individual’s actions.

What Are the Steps I Need To Learn How To Look Up Order of Protection NY?

Orders of protection can only be searched via NY court records.

How Long Does It Take for an Order of Protection To Be Served?

Individuals can expect an order of protection to be served within a week of the judge making the decision.


1City of New York. (2023). Order of Protection. The Official Website of the City of New York. Retrieved January 2, 2023, from <>

2City of New York. (2023). Orders of Protection. New York Police Department. Retrieved January 2, 2023, from <>

3Colorado Judicial Branch. (2023). Verified Complaint/Motion for Civil Protection Order Form. Colorado Judicial Branch. Retrieved January 2, 2023, from <>

4FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION. (2023). Identity History Summary Checks (Rap Sheets). Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved January 2, 2023, from <>

5New York State. (2023). Order of Protection Notification System. The Official Website of New York State. Retrieved January 2, 2023, from <>

6New York State Courts. (2023). The Courts. Retrieved January 2, 2023, from <>

7New York State Unified Court System. (2023). WebFamily. Retrieved January 1, 2023, from <>

8New York State Unified Court System. (2023). Welcome to eCourts. Retrieved January 2, 2022, from <>

9Office of Information Policy (OIP) U.S. Department of Justice. (2023). The basic function of the Freedom of Information Act is to ensure informed citizens, vital to the functioning of a democratic society. Freedom of Information Retrieved January 2, 2023, from <>

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