Restraining Order Appeals Attorney
Working to overturn inappropriate determinations and reclaim your future
Restraining orders have a huge impact and can have detrimental effects on all areas of your life. They factor into child custody decisions, land you on a nation-wide watchlist, and can even impact employment status.
At Jacobs Berger, our experienced family law attorneys understand the options and strategies for successfully appealing restraining orders.
As attorneys who have argued cases for and against restraining orders, we appreciate the speed at which proceedings can progress—as well as the complexity and appropriateness of various strategies.
If you believe you have wrongfully had a restraining order entered against you, contact one of our restraining order appeal attorneys today.
What Is a Restraining Order Appeal Attorney?
In New Jersey, the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) details actions that are considered domestic violence. If a person is a victim of any of these behaviors, they can seek relief through the issue of a Temporary Restraining Order—which limits the rights of the other person to contact or interact with them. After a hearing, the court can issue a Final Restraining Order.
If the person who the order is entered against, also known as the defendant, believes that the ruling is unfair or wrongly determined, then they may seek to appeal the court’s decision. However, the process for restraining order appeals is very technical and often must commence soon after the court’s final decision has been made.
The outcome of an appeal can have a huge impact on someone’s future. Many people who want an appeal seek legal advice from a family law attorney with experience in the area.
At Jacobs Berger, our knowledgeable restraining order appeals attorneys can work with you to determine the best approach for filing an appeal—and getting a restraining order vacated or modified.
How Can I Appeal a Restraining Order?
You can’t appeal a restraining order in New Jersey simply because you don’t like the outcome. To appeal, you must have “grounds,” or legal reasons why the court’s previous decision was in error.
When appealing a restraining order, you can file for an appeal on more than one ground. The court that hears these complaints, known as an appellate court, will decide if they believe the grounds form a valid basis for an appeal. If so, they will hear your case.
Any grounds that aren’t included in the initial appeals process can’t be considered later on if the appellate court decides to review your case. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to file based on all the grounds that might apply.
This is one of the many reasons why including an attorney in the process can be helpful.
A lawyer can help you decide how to appeal—and work with you to act within the allowed 45-day window to appeal the decision.
At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys have experience successfully appealing restraining orders and can guide you through the domestic violence restraining order appeal process.
Should I Appeal My Restraining Order?
If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence or other behaviors that have led to a restraining order being issued against you, then you should contact an attorney to talk about your options for appealing the ruling.
The appeals process isn’t a retrial. You can’t admit new evidence. Instead, the process looks at whether or not you got a fair trial, considering the evidence admitted and how rulings are decided in New Jersey.
If you believe the judge made a mistake—such as an error of law, a decision not supported by evidence, or an abuse of discretion—then you should file an appeal.
Ultimately, the decision whether or not to appeal should be made after you’ve talked with an attorney. A lawyer with experience in restraining order appeals will be able to look at your situation and help you determine if there are viable grounds for appealing.
It’s also worth remembering that you only have 45 days from the time the judge issues a ruling on the Final Restraining Order to appeal the decision.
Our attorneys at Jacobs Berger have successfully represented clients in restraining order appeals and can help you determine how best to proceed, given your unique situation.
How Restraining Order Appeals Work in New Jersey
In New Jersey, you have 45 days to appeal a Final Restraining Order decision. With the help of your attorney, you must present valid grounds for requesting an appeal.
You must also order and include in your appeal the transcripts of the hearing where the judge made the initial decision to issue a restraining order against you.
Because the job of the appellate judges is to determine whether or not the first judge made any mistakes, they need to be able to review the transcripts to make their decision.
In New Jersey, there will typically be three appellate judges who will hear your appeal together.
Regardless, your first step in the restraining order appeals process is to promptly contact a family law attorney. Our attorneys at Jacobs Berger can then help you strategize on how best to proceed with filing for an appeal.
Appealing a Temporary Restraining Order
Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) operate on the premise that in some instances of domestic violence, the victim needs to be able to swiftly get a restraining order in place against an abuser.
How Temporary Restraining Orders are filed
In order to make this process as straightforward as possible, the victim isn’t burdened with providing extensive proof that abuse has occurred. Instead, the victim files a complaint with the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court. To do this, they must go to the courthouse in their county, the abuser’s county of residence, or the county where the abuse occurred.
If the complaint is being filed after hours and is an emergency, the victim can call 9-1-1 to contact their local police department. The police can then reach an on-call judge to hear testimony and determine whether a Temporary Restraining Order can be issued immediately.
The process of issuing a restraining order errs on the side of protecting a victim—rather than asking a judge to sift through extensive evidence.
Time frame for appeals
Because of this, Temporary Restraining Orders must swiftly be followed with a hearing where evidence from both sides is fully considered. The outcome of this final hearing leads to the issuance or denial of a permanent restraining order.
In New Jersey, the hearing for a Final Restraining Order occurs within ten days of the Temporary Restraining Order being granted.
A TRO certainly limits what you can do, including staying in the home you own if your accuser also lives there. It also starts a process where you must build a defensive case against the accusations quickly.
Also, if you have been abused by the alleged victim, and the incident was one in which you feel the victim also exhibited behaviors that qualify under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, you may be in a position where you could apply for a TRO. It’s important you talk to an experienced attorney who can help you analyze the facts and determine the best course of action for you.
Instead, having a temporary protective order filed against you means you need to start preparing your case for the rapidly-approaching hearing on a Final Restraining Order.
If a Temporary Restraining Order has been granted against you, we highly recommend reaching out to an attorney as soon as possible. Time is limited, and it’s important to be prepared going into the hearing for the Final Restraining Order.
Appealing a Final Restraining Order
A Final Restraining Order (FRO) doesn’t have an expiration point in New Jersey. It can last a lifetime. Among other requirements, you won’t be able to contact your accuser, their family, or their employer. If you want to appeal the ruling, you have 45 days in which to do so.
Grounds for appeal
You can’t appeal a Final Restraining Order because you’re unhappy with the outcome. Instead, you must have grounds for appeal. Grounds are legal or procedural reasons why the decision was a mistake. They center around errors made by the judge that could have led to a faulty outcome.
An appeal is a request to the Appellate Court to review the Final Restraining Order hearing—and an effort to convince them that yes, the judge in that previous hearing did make an error.
Because of the technical and time-constrained aspects of appealing an FRO, we highly recommend working with an experienced attorney. At Jacobs Berger, our lawyers have the knowledge and experience to look at the circumstances of your case and help you determine how to proceed.
The grounds for a restraining order appeal
A few common grounds for appealing a restraining order are:
- A legal error made by the judge.
If the court uses certain factors to come to a decision about a particular rule of law, but the judge uses other factors, then this is a legal error.
- The judge’s decision isn’t supported by evidence.
The judge must base their decision on evidence provided in the trial. If the judge ignores the evidence or makes a decision that flies in the face of it, then the basis for the judge’s decision isn’t “sound and substantial.”
- Abuse of discretion by the judge.
A judge makes many decisions over the course of a case, including about what can be considered and what can’t. If the judge makes a decision that goes beyond their allowed discretion and it affects how they decide the case, then the judge has abused their discretion.
- The judge didn’t issue a complete ruling.
If the judge’s opinion didn’t detail the grounds for issuing a restraining order, then the ruling is incomplete.
Contact a Restraining Order Appeals Attorney in Morris County
Having a restraining order filed against you can have a dramatic effect on every aspect of your life.
If a Final Restraining Order has been issued against you based on a false accusation of domestic violence, contact an attorney to guide you through the appeals process.
Contact us today for a strategic strategy session. Our experienced restraining order appeals attorneys can guide you through the process—and help you reclaim your future.