New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) of 1991 outlines a wide variety of actions which constitute domestic violence. When a person becomes the victim of any of these acts, they make seek relief from these actions of violence or abuse through a protective order known as a “Restraining Order”.
The first step in seeking this protection is to file for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), the process for which we will discuss below. The most important thing to keep in mind regarding TROs is that they can be relatively easily obtained, without much burden of proof. This can help domestic violence victims to more easily acquire the protections they need, but it does also open the door for allegations of abuse towards innocent parties.
If you are the victim of domestic violence and need immediate protection from your abuser, or if you have been wrongly accused of domestic violence and are in need of legal representation, Jacobs Berger is here for you. With extensive experience helping clients across Florham Park, Hanover, Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and Morris County with all manner of domestic violence and restraining order issues, we are ready to put our knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate legal service to work for you today.
Contact our firm to discuss your unique needs and situation in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment today.
Restrictions and Protections of a Temporary Restraining Order
Temporary Restraining Orders are capable of providing the same restrictions and protections as any Final Restraining Order. TRO’s can:
- Prevent the abuser from contacting the victim, their family, or their employers
- Prevent the abuser from coming within a certain distance of the victim, their family, or their employers
- Require the abuser to leave a shared home, even if the home is in the name of the accused abuser
However, Temporary Restraining Orders are, as the name implies, temporary. When granting a TRO, a judge will schedule a Final Restraining Order hearing, usually within 10 days of granting the initial TRO. This is due to the relatively low requirements of securing a TRO, the law recognizes that a TRO can restrict many of the accused party’s rights and freedoms, and while the low evidentiary requirements of securing a TRO are important for abuse victims, the law also recognizes that it is important that they present evidence for their allegations as quickly as possible after the TRO is granted.
Due to this highly expedited court process, it is important that either party involved in a Temporary Restraining Order dispute quickly secure experienced legal representation, as 10 days leaves very little time to investigate the case, and prepare for court and the Final Restraining Order hearing.
How Do I Get a Temporary Restraining Order?
In order for a victim of domestic violence or abuse to secure a Temporary Restraining Order against their abuser, they will need to file a complaint with the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court. That is to say, they will need to go to their county courthouse, the county courthouse of the abuser’s residence, or the county courthouse where the abuse has occurred, whichever may be more convenient. For incidents of domestic violence in Madison, Randolph, Hanover, Florham Park, Morristown, or anywhere in Morris County, you will need to go to the Morris County Courthouse.
-If your situation is an emergency, or you need immediate protection outside of the operating hours of the court, you can contact your local police department by calling 911. The police will then contact an on-call judge regardless of the time, and help you to secure protection regardless of the time.-
Once at the courthouse, you will need to provide a form of identification, and ideally (but not required) provide information regarding your abuser’s address, phone numbers, place of employment, license plate number, a description of their vehicle, whether or not they possess a firearm, and any history of drug or alcohol abuse they may have. The county clerk will then provide you with several forms you will need to fill out, or alternatively you can download and print them out, and bring them with you. Remember, it is the county clerk’s duty to provide you with these forms, but not to provide you with legal advice regarding your situation. To discuss any concerns or issues you may have regarding filing a TRO, contact our firm today.
When your forms, documentation, and any additional relevant information has been provided, a judge will be presented with your request for a TRO. Should they find your allegations of domestic violence sufficient to warrant a TRO, they will issue the TRO along with a date for a Final Restraining Order hearing, usually within 10 days of granting the TRO.
What Should I Do if I have been Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?
If a Temporary Restraining Order has been filed against you, it is critical that you seek experienced legal representation as quickly as possible. While the implications and restrictions of a TRO may only last for 10 days, Final Restraining Orders, and their consequences, can last for the rest of your life!
Having a Final Restraining Order secured against you can limit your personal freedoms, will place you on a nation-wide watch list for law enforcement agencies, can severely impact any child custody agreement you may have, will prevent you from purchasing or owning a firearm, and may even affect your employment status if you are working for a government institution.
An experienced Florham Park domestic violence attorney will have a broad variety of options and strategies at their disposal for defending you during your Final Restraining Order hearing, however, due to the expedited nature of FRO hearings, you and your attorney will have very little time to prepare your defense, so the sooner you contact an attorney, the better.
Restraining Order Violations
Once either a Temporary Restraining Order or a Final Restraining Order has been issued, any violations of the terms outlined in the restraining order will constitute a “contempt” offense, as outlined in 2C:29-9 (b).
Less severe violations of restraining orders will typically result in a disorderly persons offense, while more severe violations such as a physical assault will most likely be considered a criminal offense, and as such handled in criminal court rather than family court.
Penalties and consequences for restraining order violations vary depending upon the situation, the degree of the violation, and any history of previous violations.
Contact Our Temporary Restraining Order Attorneys Today
At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys have extensive experience handling domestic violence and restraining order issues of all kinds throughout New Jersey.
Whether you are in need of protection from an abuser, or have been wrongly accused of domestic violence and need to protect your rights and freedoms in a Final Restraining Order hearing, our firm is prepared to provide you with the knowledgable, highly effective, and compassionate legal counsel that you need and deserve in matters so important to your physical safety and legal future.
To speak with our firm in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment regarding your Temporary Restraining Order needs and concerns, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 710-4366.