What is a Restraining Order?
A restraining order is a court order intended to protect a domestic violence victim from their abuser. A domestic violence victim is defined as someone who is currently or was formerly dating, married to, living with, expecting a child with, or emancipated from their attacker.
A restraining order can be issued as a result of any form of domestic violence, including:
- Sexual assault
- Criminal trespassing
- Terroristic threats
- Kidnapping, false imprisonment or criminal restraint
- Lewdness or criminal mischief
Following any of these crimes, the victim can obtain a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). These orders can be obtained any time of the day or night, either from Superior or Municipal court. In the interest of protecting the victim’s life or well being, a TRO can be granted as an ex parte order, meaning without the presence or knowledge of the other party.
What Do Restraining Orders Include?
The provisions of Temporary Restraining Orders vary from case to case depending on the circumstances, but can include conditions that:
- Forbid the defendant from returning to the scene of the domestic violence or other locations, such as the victim’s workplace.
- Forbid the defendant from possessing any firearms or other weapons.
- Forbid the defendant from having any written, in person, or telephone communication with the victim or their relatives, including communication on their behalf by another person.
- Require the defendant to compensate the victim for any damages, such as medical expenses.
- Require the defendant to receive a psychiatric evaluation or counseling.
- Temporarily provide the victim with sole possession of their home.
- Temporarily provide the victim with sole custody of their children.
Within ten days of the Temporary Restraining Order being issued, the court will schedule a hearing in which both the victim and defendant will be able to testify. The judge will then decide whether to issue a Final Restraining Order, which applies permanently until one of the parties modifies it through a legal court motion approved by a judge.
Violating Restraining Orders in New Jersey
Violating a restraining order in New Jersey has serious consequences. The penalties vary depending on the circumstances and the provisions of the restraining order that were violated, but typically a restraining order violation is considered Contempt of Court, a fourth degree crime that can carry fines of up to $10,000 and 18 months in prison, in addition to any other crimes committed during the violation.
Contact Us Today
Restraining orders can have serious, long lasting effects. If you are the victim of domestic violence, or have had a Temporary Restraining Order filed against you, it is critical to know your legal rights and options. Contact Schneider Freiberger today to discuss NJ restraining orders.