Sometimes, two individuals who were formerly close becomes so embroiled in interpersonal conflict that one of them feels scared for their safety and feels the need to contact the authorities. In such situations, it is common for one person to request and be granted a temporary restraining order against the other person. At this point, the individual against whom the restraining order is directed will have a chance to appear at a hearing to make the case that a permanent order is not warranted and should not be imposed. You should never attend such a hearing without an experienced Atlantic City criminal defense attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarcyh by your side. Below, our skilled attorneys explain when you should hire an attorney for a restraining order, and how we can help you at this hearing and beyond, including if the order is ultimately imposed and you are charged with violating it.
When Should I Retain a NJ Attorney for a Restraining Order Hearing?
As soon as you learn that someone has made an application for a restraining order against you or that a temporary restraining order (TRO) has been granted against you, your first step should be to reach out immediately to an experienced Egg Harbor restraining order defense attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. The quicker you involve us, the better chance we have of mitigating the damage and ultimately getting the charges against you dismissed. Furthermore, if you wait to retain us until right before the hearing is scheduled, we may not have time to properly assess your situation and prepare.
How Does the Restraining Order Process Work in New Jersey?
Sometimes, a restraining order may come in the wake of another arrest, such as one for domestic violence against a spouse. In such a case, the police will usually ask the spouse if they would like to make an application for a restraining order, and, if so, the court will almost always grant it. In such a situation, you are going to be facing the underlying charges, such as for assault, in addition to the restraining order issue, and so getting in touch as quickly as possible with a skilled New Jersey criminal defense lawyer like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych who can advise you on what best steps to take is imperative.
However, there does not need to have been any sort of criminal charge filed for someone to file for a restraining order. Whether or not the matter was reported previously to the authorities, a person can make an application for a (TRO) if someone they live with, previously lived with, or have or previously had a qualifying relationship with commits one of the following acts against them: harassment, assault, terroristic threats, criminal mischief, kidnapping, burglary, sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, false imprisonment, criminal restraint, criminal trespass, lewdness, stalking, homicide, robbery, criminal coercion, cyber-harassment, or any crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury.
Once a TRO has been granted against you, the court will set a hearing in the Superior Court, Family Division on whether or not to transform it into a permanent restraining order. If the TRO was based on an independent complaint, the hearing must occur within 10 days. This short timeframe is yet another reason why you must act quickly to retain experienced counsel. At the hearing, both sides will present their case and the judge will make a decision about whether or not there is a “preponderance of the evidence” to support granting the order. If the order is issued, it will be permanent, meaning that it will remain in place until one or both parties file an order with the court to have it lifted and a judge grants the request.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me If I Am Charged with Violating a Restraining Order in NJ?
When a TRO or a permanent order has been imposed, you will have to follow all of the requirements imposed by the court as part of the order, including but not limited to staying away from the person who has the restraining order against you and not making any contact with them, even through third-parties. If you violate your restraining order intentionally, you can be charged with a crime. If this was done at the same time as you committing another crime in the course of your violation, such as showing up at your lover’s home and assaulting them, the violation will be charged as a fourth-degree offense punishable by to 18 months in prison and up to 10,000 in fines, in addition to whatever other charges you might face. If the violation is committed independently of another crime, such as showing up at the house but not attacking or threatening the person, the charge will be a disorderly persons offense punishable by up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
A skilled Atlantic City violation of protective order attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can make sure that your side of the story is told. For example, many violations might be unintentional, such as passing by the person on a crowded city street without knowing when you are supposed to keep a certain physical distance away from them. We can work with the prosecutor to get the charges dismissed or downgraded. Of course, if you do not wish to take a deal, our battle-tested trial lawyers are ready to fight for your innocence in the courtroom.
If You Are Facing a Restraining Order Hearing, Call Our NJ Protective Order Violations Attorneys Today
A restraining order can be serious business and can majorly disrupt your life, especially if you live with the person who gets one granted against you and are forced to relocate. Whether you are facing your initial hearing to have the TRO made into a permanent restraining order or have been charged with a violation after the order was put in place, our skilled Collingswood, NJ criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych have the experience and know-how to help bring your case to the best possible conclusion. For a free consultation, call us today at (801) 758-2287.