Once a Final Restraining Order has been entered against you, it will stay in place for the rest of your life. A Final Restraining Order is an ugly reminder of your past and is looked down upon because it is usually the result of domestic violence such as Simple Assault, Terroristic Threats, or Harassment. A FRO can show up on background checks which can ultimately hinder your ability to get the job of your choice and it will prevent you from owning or being able to purchase a firearm. Furthermore, if the victim claims that you have contacted them against the rules of the restraining order, you will be arrested and charged with a separate criminal offense for violation of the restraining order. Under the law either party may seek a dismissal of a Final Restraining Order under the Domestic Violence Act. However, it is important to understand that dismissals are not automatic even if both parties agree. Torres v. Lancellotti, 257 N.J. Super. 126 (Ch. Div. 1992). If the victim requests that the restraining order be removed they still must show true reconciliation and that there is no further need for protection. If the judge is not convinced by the evidence and testimony then the restraining order will remain in place. A defendant may also request a dismissal of the restraining order at any time, although at least a one year waiting period is normally used as a rule of thumb for these proceedings. The petition to vacate the FRO must be filed with the Family Superior Court Judge who originally entered the restraining order. In most cases when the proceeding is brought years later and the judge is no longer available, so you must gather all the transcripts and paperwork from the original FRO proceedings so a new judge can review the case with a complete record of the Final Restraining Order and can make an educated and informed decision to dissolve or modify it for good cause shown. We represent clients for motions to dismiss final restraining orders throughout New Jersey including Elizabeth, Union Twp, Plainfield, Scotch Plains, Linden, Westfield, and Rahway. To learn more about how we may be able to help you, contact our office today at (908) 838-0150 for a free initial consultation with an experienced attorney.
How to Dismiss a Final Restraining Order?
A defendant seeking to vacate a final restraining order in New Jersey must satisfy a three-part test established by the Appellate Division in order to gain dismissal of the FRO which includes:
1) Demonstrate there is “good cause” to dismiss the restraining order by meeting the 11 factors listed in Carfagno v. Carfagno, 288 N.J. Super. 424 (Ch. Div. 1995).
2) Show that there is a substantial change of circumstances, considering the history between the parties and provide the transcript for the court to understand the original basis for the restraining order
3) The eleven factors should be applied qualitatively not quantitatively. The factors that should be considered in whether an aggressor has demonstrated “good cause” for dismissing the FRO are (1) the victim’s consent; (2) Whether the victim fears the aggressor (subjective/reasonable person test); (3) Current relationship between the parties; (4) Number of contempt convictions; (5) Aggressor’s use of drugs or abuse of alcohol; (6) Whether the aggressor is violent with others; (7) Whether the aggressor has attended counseling; (8) Age and health of the aggressor; (9) Whether the defendant is acting in good faith in seeking dismissal; (10) Whether there are any other restraining orders against the aggressor; and (11) any other relevant consideration regarding the potential for dismissal.
As you can see from the steps listed above, vacating or dismissing a Final Restraining Order is a difficult and complicated process that often requires the assistance of an experienced litigation attorney to file motion, formal brief, and articulate a persuasive argument before hearing with a Superior Court Judge. At the Proetta & Oliver we represent clients to vacate a final restraining order throughout New Jersey including Union County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, and Monmouth County. Contact our office at (908) 838-0150 for a free consultation with an experienced restraining order lawyer.
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