NEW JERSEY RESTRAINING ORDER LAW
What is a Restraining Order?
In broad terms, a restraining order is simply a court order prohibiting contact and/or communication by another party with the person seeking the order. It is designed to protect against domestic violence.
There are two types of retraining orders in New Jersey: a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) and a final restraining order (“FRO”).
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS
Temporary restraining orders are not handled by a New Jersey criminal court. Instead, they are filed in Family Court. In order to obtain a TRO in New Jersey, the person seeking the order must have standing. In order to have standing, the person seeking the TRO must fall into one of the following categories:
- The parties were in a dating relationship at some point;
- The parties resided together at some point; OR,
- The parties have a child together.
Those that have standing to file a TRO may then obtain the order if the following factors are presented to the Family Court:
- An act of domestic violence has occurred – Acts of domestic violence are crimes; including: assault, harassment, stalking, terroristic threats, and more.
- Prior history of domestic violence – Many times, a victim must show that there have been previous acts of domestic violence to show the court that there is a course of conduct. However, there are exceptions. When the act that resulted in the filing of the TRO is particularly egregious, the court may decide to issue the TRO
- The TRO is necessary to protect the victim – This means that a reasonable person in the same situation would be in fear of his or her safety.
Whenever these factors are show, the court may grant a TRO.
FINAL RESTRAINING ORDERS
After the TRO has been issued, a hearing will be conducted in Family Court in order to determine whether the TRO should become final. Whereas a TRO can be issued largely upon allegations, the Final Restraining Order hearing requires proof. The allegations must be proven by a preponderance of evidence. At the hearing, the person who filed the TRO will testify and provide evidence of the domestic violence offense. Afterwards, the person against whom the TRO has been filed can testify and provide evidence rebutting the allegations. The judge can question the witnesses and the parties may cross-examine each other during the proceeding. After the evidence has been submitted to the court, the judge will agree to issue the FRO or deny it.
How to Dismiss a Restraining Order in NJ
If the judge grants the FRO, the party against whom the FRO was sought faces permanent restrictions on his or her life. FROs can only be removed if the alleged victim or a court decides to remove it by way of a motion to vacate the restraining order in New Jersey. Therefore, FRO hearings must not betaken lightly.
Violating A Restraining Order
A violation of a domestic violence restraining order is a criminal offense and can result in serious consequences, including jail.
If you have a question or a pending TRO/FRO hearing and would like to speak with a New Jersey criminal attorney, do not hesitate to contact The Sloan Law Firm at: (908) 358-2938 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading.
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