Restraining orders are common in domestic violence cases. The terms and conditions of a restraining order will depend on the unique circumstances of each case but may be temporary or final.
A temporary restraining order (TRO) is often the first course of action taken against a defendant. A TRO may be applied for and granted without the defendant’s presence or knowledge. A hearing is held later to determine if the TRO should be made final. A final restraining order (FRO) is long-lasting and may last for years. A no contact order is technically not a restraining order, but they serve a similar purpose to keep defendants away from alleged victims. If you are the subject of a restraining order, there may be harsh penalties for violations. An attorney can help you get the order dismissed if it is unnecessary to overly burdensome.
Our Sea Isle CIty domestic violence defense attorneys can help you argue against the imposition of a restraining order or help you lift an existing order. The team at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych is available for free case reviews. Call us at (609) 616-4956.
Different Types of Restraining Orders in New Jersey
While the exact terms of restraining orders will vary from case to case, they are typically designed to keep the defendant away from the alleged victim. Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:25-26(a), restraining orders require defendants to keep a specific physical distance from alleged victims and refrain from contacting them in person or otherwise.
Restraining orders are usually temporary at first but may be made permanent later. No contact orders are similar to restraining orders but may be imposed under somewhat different circumstances. Our Ocean City domestic violence defense lawyers can help you understand the order imposed against you and even work to get it lifted.
Temporary Restraining Orders
Temporary restraining orders, otherwise called TROs, can be applied for by the alleged victim in a domestic violence case. Courts often take special precautions when it comes to ensuring the safety of alleged victims, and TROs are often imposed ex parte, or without the defendant’s presence.
It is not unusual for defendants to learn about the TRO after it has been imposed. Defendants are often required to leave the home they share with the alleged victim and cease all contact with them. They may also be prevented from seeing any children they share with the alleged victim.
The purpose of a TRO is to protect victims until a hearing on the matter can be held. Usually, a hearing about the TRO is held within 10 days, so TROs do not usually last for very long.
Final Restraining Orders
A final restraining order, also called an FRO, may be put in place after the hearing mentioned above. The hearing, which takes place within 10 days of the TRO being imposed, determines if the restraining order should be made permanent.
Before this hearing, you must be given notice to appear for the hearing with a lawyer. You are allowed to argue why the FRO should not be imposed. If you receive this notice and fail to appear, the hearing will proceed without you. If you did not receive notice and cannot appear at the hearing, it must be rescheduled.
In New Jersey, FROs are permanent and last forever unless the court changes them. Our Hamilton Township domestic violence defense attorneys can help you hopefully prevent the imposition of an FRO, or we can help you lift an already imposed one.
No Contact Orders
A no contact order is not a restraining order, but it serves a similar purpose. No contact orders may be imposed in any criminal case where a defendant is released on bail. The no contact order is usually made part of the bail conditions.
Under a no contact order, a defendant is not allowed to have any contact whatsoever with the alleged victim. The key difference between a no contact order and a restraining order is when they expire. A no contact order often expires when a defendant is found not guilty or the case is dismissed. No contact orders are not usually made permanent.
The court may impose no contact orders at the judge’s will. A victim need not apply for a no contact order for one to be put in place. Our Gloucester City, NJ domestic violence defense attorneys can help you argue against a no contact order at your bail hearing.
Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order in New Jersey
Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:29-9, a defendant bound by a restraining order or no contact order may face contempt charges for any violations of the order. A person may be held in contempt if they purposefully or knowingly disobey a court order, including restraining orders and no contact orders.
Under the law, a violation of a restraining order may be charged as a fourth-degree crime punishable by a prison term of up to 18 months. Depending on the reasons for which the restraining order was imposed, you may instead be charged with a third-degree crime punishable by at least 3 but not more than 5 years in prison.
Our New Jersey domestic violence defense attorneys can help you fight any contempt charges. In many cases, a violation is not made knowingly or purposefully. Instead, the violation is only accidental, perhaps because the defendant did not fully understand the terms of the order.
Getting Different Types of Restraining Orders Lifted in New Jersey Dismissed
If a restraining order is too burdensome or unnecessary, we can argue that it should be lifted. There are normally two opportunities to have a restraining order lifted. First, we can argue that a TRO should not be made into an FRO. Second, if an FRO is imposed, we can ask the court to change the order.
The primary purpose of a restraining order is to keep alleged victims safe. We can argue against an FRO by explaining that you do not pose a threat to the victim. This is important because FROs often keep defendants from seeing the children they share with the alleged victim and often force defendants to leave the homes they share with their families.
Our Galloway Township domestic violence defense attorneys can demonstrate that the order is unnecessary because you are not dangerous by pointing to various aspects of your life. For example, we can highlight a lack of criminal history.
Call Our New Jersey Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys for Help
If you are facing the possibility of a restraining order, our Cape May domestic violence defense attorney can help you protect yourself. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956. We can offer a free case review to get started.