Experienced Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help You Avoid Restraining Orders in Brick, Edison, Freehold, & Throughout New Jersey
A domestic violence charge can have serious consequences, including a lengthy period of incarceration in New Jersey State Prison. However, perhaps the most damaging effect of a domestic violence accusation is the imposition of a restraining order, which could cause you to lose long-term access to your home and your children. As such, your domestic violence charge could be the most serious charge you will ever face.
If you are required to appear at a restraining order hearing on a domestic violence charge, you need qualified legal representation. You will want to enlist the services of a criminal defense firm that is prepared to defend you against both the domestic violence charge itself and the temporary restraining order.
A Knowledgeable Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Guide You through the Complicated Restraining Order Process
The restraining order process in New Jersey is set forth by the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991. Many times, a domestic violence charge and a restraining order arise from the same incident. However, the domestic violence case is heard in the county superior court’s criminal division, while the restraining order hearing takes place in the county superior court’s family division. This is because a restraining order is technically a civil action.
The Different Types of Restraining Orders: Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and Final Restraining Order (FRO)
Accusations of domestic violence in New Jersey are usually followed by the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). It is comparatively easy to get a TRO because it has a much lower standard of proof than a criminal complaint. A TRO does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt and can be based on the word of the complaining party. This means that NJ judges are inclined to issue a TRO if the complaining party’s story is even remotely believable.
One of the only requirements for a TRO is that there be an underlying predicate of domestic violence. In other words, the restraining order must be connected to a violent crime. There are 14 crimes that may constitute domestic violence:
- Terroristic Threats
- Criminal Restraint
- False Imprisonment
- Sexual Assault
- Criminal Sexual Contact
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Trespass
A TRO is usually in place for no more than 10 days. Within 10 days of the issuance of a TRO, the case will be heard at a Final Restraining Order (FRO) hearing, which also takes place in the superior court’s family division. At an FRO hearing, the parties and witnesses may testify and the judge may look at evidence, including emails, text messages, and voicemail messages.
When determining whether to issue an FRO, the judge will consider three factors:
- Existence of an act of domestic violence
- Prior history of domestic violence between the parties
- Reasonableness of the complaining party’s fear for his or her safety
Harsh Penalties for the Violation of a Restraining Order in New Jersey
If a Final Restraining Order (FRO) is issued in your case, you may be forbidden from returning to your home, prohibited from visiting or communicating with your children, and prevented from legally possessing a firearm. You might also be required to undergo an alcohol evaluation and participate in anger management classes or professional domestic violence counseling.
A violation of a restraining order can result in mandatory arrest and a new criminal charge for contempt of court, which subjects the offender to an additional 18 months in prison. This is in addition to any penalties already imposed for the original domestic violence charge. Worst of all, it is extremely difficult to get an FRO lifted once it has been issued.
Do Not Let a False Accusation Destroy Your Life; Speak with an Experienced Restraining Order Lawyer in Freehold, NJ
If you’ve been accused of domestic violence in Monmouth County, Ocean County, or Middlesex County, you need to take steps to ensure that your legal rights are protected. It is imperative that you act quickly because an FRO hearing is typically scheduled to occur within 10 days of the issuance of a TRO. It is also crucial that you speak with a domestic violence lawyer before saying anything to law enforcement. Since the implications of a Final Restraining Order are so serious, you will want an attorney who is prepared to seek a dismissal of the restraining order.
The experienced attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi can assist you with your restraining order. We are a family-owned law firm that has been helping clients throughout New Jersey since 1975. Additionally, attorneys Joseph Lombardi and Paul Garelick are prosecutors in Edison, NJ and South Plainfield, NJ, respectively, which helps us to bring an insider’s perspective to your case.
For a no-cost consultation about your restraining order hearing, speak with one of our knowledgeable domestic violence attorneys. You can call us or you can contact us online.
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