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Restraining Orders

Bergen County Restraining Order Defense Attorney

Restraining Orders in New Jersey

Restraining orders are issued when an individual has suffered from domestic violence. A judge typically issues a temporary restraining order until a hearing can be held to decide whether a permanent order is necessary. 

Restraining order

At Law Offices of Joseph R. Donahue, LLC, we understand the broad implications a restraining order can have on an individual’s career, family relationships, and reputation. We can represent you during restraining order hearings, defend you against order violations, as well as file a motion to remove the order. We have decades of experience dealing with cases involving domestic violence throughout Northern and Central New Jersey.

What are the restrictions of a restraining order in New Jersey?

  • You are prohibited from contacting the petitioner
  • A judge may order you to leave the shared residence
  • You may lose custody of your children or have limited contact
  • You may lose your right to own firearms
  • You may be required to undergo domestic violence counseling

Facing a restraining order? Contact us today for experienced representation.

Defending Restraining Order Violations in NJ

If an individual has violated the terms of the restraining order, he or she can be arrested and may be subject to criminal penalties that include fines and jail time. Violations can include making contact (physical or electronic messages) and even going near the petitioner’s home or place of work. We are aware that some violations can be accidental or a misunderstanding, and we make every effort to defend you against such accusations.

Can I Remove a Restraining Order?

It is possible to remove a restraining order if you can successfully demonstrate good cause for the removal. Our attorney can help you build a strong case and include compelling evidence that can persuade the judge that the order is no longer necessary.

What Is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

A domestic violence restraining order is a civil order issued by a Superior Court Judge in New Jersey. The restraining order, also known as a “FRO” or a “Final Restraining Order”, once issued, is permanent. This means that if a Judge signs an FRO against you, you will be permanently restrained or barred from having any kind of physical, telephonic or electronic contact with the person that filed the domestic violence complaint against you.

What Is a TRO or Temporary Restraining Order?

A “TRO”, or “Temporary Restraining Order”, is a civil order issued by a Superior Court Judge in New Jersey against an individual. The TRO is the first step in the domestic violence process. The TRO is temporary and cannot be converted to a “FRO” or “Final Restraining Order” unless you have been served with the TRO and unless there is a hearing to determine if a “Final Restraining Order” or “FRO” should be issued.

What Is a FRO or a Final Restraining Order?

A “FRO” or “Final Restraining Order” is a permanent civil order signed by a Superior Court Judge in New Jersey which bars or restrains a person from having any future contact with a person. The FRO is signed by a Superior Court Judge after a hearing. At the hearing the Judge takes sworn testimony and evidence from both the Plaintiff (the person who filed the TRO) and any witnesses called by the Plaintiff. The Judge then takes sworn testimony and evidence from the Defendant (the person who was served with and has the TRO against him/her) and any witnesses called by the Defendant. The Judge then decides whether to issue a FRO or not. If the FRO is issued it is final and permanent (unless a successful appeal is taken).

Is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order Criminal?

No, a domestic violence restraining order is not criminal in New Jersey. A domestic violence restraining order is a civil order issued by a Superior Court Judge that permanently prevents or restrains someone from having contact with another person, provided certain conditions have been met.

How Do I know if I am a Victim of Domestic Violence?

In order to qualify as a victim of domestic violence in New Jersey (and therefore someone who can secure a restraining order) the following conditions must be met:

  1. The victim must be 18 or older or the victim must be an emancipated minor under New Jersey law; and
  2. The victim must be a:
    1. Spouse; or
    2. A former spouse; or
    3. A household member; or
    4. A former household member; or
    5. a person must have had a dating relationship with the alleged abuser; or
    6. a victim is someone who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person (regardless of age) with whom the victim has a child in common with the alleged abuser or with whom the victim anticipates having a child in common with the alleged abuser if one of the parties is pregnant.

What Is a Predicate Act of Domestic Violence?

In order to secure a TRO or a FRO in New Jersey, the plaintiff must first show that the defendant violated one of a list of domestic violence “predicate acts.” Currently in New Jersey there are 19 predicate acts of domestic violence: homicide, assault, terroristic threats, kidnapping, criminal restraint, false imprisonment, sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, lewdness, criminal mischief, burglary, criminal trespass, harassment, stalking, criminal coercion, robbery, contempt, cyber harassment or finally any other crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury.

What Do I Have to Prove in order to Get a FRO or Final Restraining Order?

Once the individual seeking the restraining order in New Jersey has demonstrated that he or she is a “victim” under New Jersey law, and once this person secures a TRO or temporary restraining order, the victim must show a number of things in order to secure a FRO or final restraining order. First, the victim must demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one of 19 predicate acts of domestic violence occurred. Once a court determines that the victim has shown one of the predicate acts, the victim must also show that there is an immediate danger to person or property or that a restraining order is necessary in order to prevent further abuse.

What Is the Standard of Proof in a Domestic Violence Restraining Order Hearing?

The standard of proof is preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence is a more likely than not standard.

Who Decides Whether to Issue a Final Restraining Order or FRO?

A Superior Court Judge sitting in the family part makes the decision after taking testimony and hearing evidence. The parties are not entitled to a jury.

Contact an Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

Law Offices of Joseph R. Donahue, LLC is ready to listen to your side of the story. Whether you are being investigated for domestic violence or already have a New Jersey restraining order against you, we work to preserve your interests and safeguard your rights.

Have a New Jersey restraining order against you? Discuss your options with our attorney today by calling (201) 574-7919.


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