Union County NJ Domestic Violence Lawyers Handling Restraining Orders
If you have been accused of domestic violence or are facing a restraining order in Union County, New Jersey, the consequences can be extreme. The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act authorizes protections for victims of domestic abuse, which could land you in jail for a criminal conviction, along with a permanent restraining order issued against you. Although a restraining order does not result in a criminal record, it can still impact your life in many ways, limiting your ability to see your children, forcing you from your residence, and preventing you from owning a weapon now or in the years to come. Moreover, if you are found guilty of an act of domestic violence, you may be required to register in the domestic violence database and it can be considered a deportable crime if you are not a U.S citizen. Often, people charged with domestic violence wait until the last minute to think about seeking legal counsel. The reasons for doing so vary, but the reality is that going to court without qualified representation can not only hurt your case, but it can have long-lasting impacts detrimental to your personal and professional life. When you are able to hire an attorney at the early stages of a domestic violence criminal and/or restraining order case, the depths of the criminal consequences and recurring implications of a restraining order can be mitigated, lessened, or eliminated altogether.
The domestic violence attorneys at the New Jersey criminal law firm of Proetta & Oliver play an integral role in protecting clients facing restraining orders and domestic violence charges in Union County towns such as Elizabeth, Linden, Scotch Plains, Cranford, Clark, Mountainside, and Union Township. From challenging charges for simple assault, criminal mischief, trespassing, burglary, or aggravated assault, to protecting your innocence in a restraining order matter, our lawyers will do everything we can on your behalf. To reach us for a free consultation about allegations that you are facing, call (908) 838-0150 now.
Who can get a Restraining Order in New Jersey?
Prior to commencing a domestic violence case, the victim must be entitled to protection under the law. Alleged victims meeting legal requirements for restraining orders include current and former dating partners, married couples and ex-spouses, members of the same household, and people who have a child in common or those expecting a child together. However, not everyone who applies for a restraining order is a protected party. An experienced attorney will first look at this prong to determine the relationship between the person filing for the protection order and the person against whom the order is sought (defendant). As a general rule, anyone you have had some form of a romantic relationship with, have lived with, or someone to whom you are related can be a protected party. Friends, strangers, or neighbors are not people entitled to protection as victims of domestic violence. Accordingly, when applicable, we will point out to the judge that there is no domestic violence relationship or was never a familial or romantic connection between you and the other person. Nonetheless, sometimes the former relationship is undeniable and the next issue becomes whether an act of domestic violence occurred.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence?
A person seeking protection through a restraining order must allege that you committed some form of domestic violence. The acts allowing for a restraining order can be minor or more severe, encompassing more violent behavior. The domestic violence act defines any prohibited behavior that may qualify as a domestic violence offense. All of these are criminal charges that may be filed outside of domestic matters as well. Our domestic violence lawyers defend clients charged with all types of DV offenses, including:
- Simple Assault
- Aggravated Assault
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Trespass
- Terroristic Threats
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose
- Criminal Sexual Contact
- Criminal Restraint
- False Imprisonment
What is the Process for a Restraining Order in NJ?
Once domestic violence has been alleged, the complainant may file for a Temporary Restraining Order “TRO.” This is ordered by a judge without your knowledge, You will be served a copy of the TRO and simultaneously given a court date in the Family Division in the Superior Court where the order was requested. The final restraining order is heard in the Family Court in front of one judge. Then, a hearing will be scheduled to determine whether the temporary order should be placed into effect on a permanent basis. This is known as a Final Restraining Order “FRO.” If the Judge finds that the victim is a protected party, was the victim of an act of domestic violence, and is in need of protection from future abuse, a final restraining order will be issued.
Prior to the final hearing, our experienced lawyers will gather the police reports, interview any witnesses available, review evidence and the initial restraining order filing, help you to determine and assemble evidence that can be used in your defense, and prepare our court case. Our goal is to establish to judge that the event either did not happen as stated by the victim, that the alleged victim has no reason to be afraid, or that no history of domestic violence exists between the individuals involved in the case. Ultimately, we seek to prove that the FRO should not be granted. We also have the right to put on our own witnesses, file a cross complaint, cross-examine the witnesses, and argue the applicability of established case law to the current scenario.
What Happens if there is a Final Restraining Order Against Me in New Jersey?
If the judge does effectuate a permanent restraining order against you, there is no end date and your rights and liberties will be restricted. An FRO will have multiple implications, permanently ordering conditions and restraining you from specific contact, namely:
- contacting the protected party by phone, social media, mail, text, email, or by causing any third party contact;
- contacting the victim’s family members, which can include your own children (until further order of the court);
- child custody and parenting time can be ordered significantly restricting your contact with your children;
- establishing a perimeter in which you cannot be near the victim (the order sets forth how many feet you must remain from the victim at all times);
- you can be placed on probation
- what you say in the domestic violence case can be used against you in a related criminal matter;
- child support or spousal support can be ordered as part of the domestic violence case
Notably, the order will have no end date. As a result, a restraining order can be used as a weapon against you by the alleged victim. You may even face future criminal contempt charges for Violation of a Restraining Order. Moreover, if you want an FRO to be removed, you must file a motion in the future. This process is known as Vacating a Final Restraining Order.
Charged with a Crime for Domestic Violence, What Happens Next?
Individuals arrested and served with restraining orders for domestic violence in New Jersey may have to attend several different courts. If it is alleged that you committed an act of domestic violence and you are charged criminally in connection with these allegations, you may face a disorderly persons offense or an indictable crime. If you have been arrested for a felony act of domestic violence such as an aggravated assault, sexual assault, or terroristic threats, you will required to attend proceedings in the Superior Court, Criminal Division. Indictable charges are the more serious type, for which you can face state prison. Conversely, if you are facing charges for a disorderly persons offense such as Simple Assault, your case will be handled in the municipal court in the town where the charges were filed. Since criminal justice reform was effectuated in New Jersey, even a charge for simple assault will result in your arrest and holding until your appearance before a judge. For further information about Setting Bail in a Domestic Violence Case, see the dedicated page that we have on the topic.
Any type of criminal charge can result in long-lasting consequences that include a criminal record. On top of the associated punishments for a criminal conviction, a domestic violence case resulting in a restraining order deprives you of certain rights. For example, restraining orders result in Forfeiture of Weapons & Firearms. In addition to taking your weapons, the state prohibits you from acquiring or possessing them moving forward. By doing so anyway, you open yourself up for additional criminal charges and jail time.
Elizabeth NJ Restraining Order Attorneys · (908) 838-0150
If you or anyone you know has been charged with domestic violence or served with a restraining order in Union County or anywhere else in New Jersey for that matter, it is imperative that you seek representation immediately. If you choose our firm to represent you, you can trust that attorneys with proven results are protecting your best interests every step of the way. Our successes defending against criminal domestic violence charges and restraining orders, along with significant experience in family and criminal courts, put our domestic violence lawyers in a better position to protect you. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to put your mind at ease and assist you with devising a plan to move forward. Whether you have a criminal matter, a restraining order matter, an upcoming detention hearing, or all of the above, contact us for a free consultation. You can reach out by phone at (908) 838-0150 or start a chat to get in touch.