In New Jersey, when victims of domestic violence file complaints through their local police, they often have the option to obtain different protective orders, which are also known as restraining orders. There are both temporary and final restraining orders one could obtain.
What Does a Restraining Order Do?
A restraining order limits the movements and activities of the defendant in regards to his or her interactions with the victim. In addition, the restraining order could contain specific provisions where the defendant cannot have any contact with the victim, including but not limited to:
- In Person
- Within So Many Feet/Yards
- By Email
- By Text Message
- Through Social Media Sites
- By Telephone
If there are minor children the couple shares, the restraining order could also prevent the plaintiff from access and visitation or require supervised access and visitation.
What Is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)?
A TRO is a court-ordered restraining order the victim can apply for to gain temporary protection from the defendant. Most TROs are valid for a ten-day period, but the judge can extend the TRO, pending the hearing for the final restraining order.
Victims can request a TRO from their local New Jersey police department or through Family Division (Violence Unit) of their county court. If the victim applies at the police department, the police can issue the TRO after they have spoken to a judge either in person or by telephone.
If victims apply through Family Court, they will first meet with court staff that is part of the Violence Unit, then have to attend a hearing with a judge or officer of the court as soon as possible.
Once the TRO is issued, the defendant is notified by the police. The defendant must surrender all firearms in his or her possession until the case is resolved. Additionally, the defendant must leave the home while the TRO is in effect.
What Is a Final Restraining Order (FRO)?
An FRO is a court-ordered restraining order which is much more detailed in its restrictions than the TRO. Normally, a final hearing is held within ten days of issuing a TRO. At this hearing, both the victim and defendant appear before the judge to present testimony explaining why or why not the FRO is required.
If an FRO is issued, it is important to keep in mind there is no set time limit on the restraining order, and it will remain in effect until it is removed by a judge.
Consequences of Violating a TRO or FRO
If you violate the conditions of a TRO or FRO, you can be charged with another criminal offense and be arrested again. If you violate the order a second time, you could spend a mandatory thirty days in jail. Even if the victim has changed his or her mind and wants you home, you must first get the order removed by a judge, or you will be in violation.
Aside from the consequences of violating a TRO or FRO, being charged with domestic violence is a very serious criminal offense. If convicted and found guilty, you could be imprisoned, have the offense recorded on your criminal record, and not be able to return home after your release.
If you have been charged with domestic violence and want the best outcome possible, then you will want to contact the law firm of Keith Hirschorn, P.C. for a free consultation with a domestic violence defense attorney by calling 201-798-4444 today!