On December 14, 2016, a Wycoff man was arrested after he allegedly assaulted police officers who were serving him with a temporary restraining order.
According to the authorities, police officers were attempting to execute a search warrant and serve a temporary restraining order on Eugene Baker, 68, of Wycoff. That’s when Baker allegedly assaulted the police officers. He was subsequently arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and resisting arrest. Fortunately, none of the officers suffered any injuries during the attack.
After being arrested and processed, Baker posted $2,500 bail and was released on his own recognizance.
NJ Domestic Violence Laws
Under New Jersey’s domestic violence and restraining order laws, specifically the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (“PDVA”), a victim of domestic violence can obtain an emergency temporary restraining order, ex parte. N.J.S.A. 2C:25-28. This means that the victim does not need to notify the alleged perpetrator of the application to get a temporary restraining order (TRO). Then, if the court issues a temporary restraining order in the absence of the defendant, local law enforcement will be required to locate and serve the alleged aggressor with the restraining order. In addition, if the victim alleges that the perpetrator possesses weapons, the restraining order will also serve as a warrant to search and seize weapons from the defendant.
In this particular case, the situation clearly deteriorated and the defendant allegedly did not cooperate with law enforcement when they were attempting to serve the restraining order. Accordingly, the defendant is now not only facing a restraining order but also criminal charges in connection with the incident.
Under New Jersey’s criminal code, a person is guilty of aggravated assault if he commits a simple assault upon any law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of his authority. This is a third degree crime if the officer suffers bodily injury; otherwise, it is a fourth degree crime. N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(5)(a). In addition, resisting arrest is a third degree crime if a person uses or threatens to use physical force or violence against a law enforcement officer while purposely preventing or attempting to prevent a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest. N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a)(3).
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The bottom line is that the time to challenge a restraining order is not when the police are serving the papers because it will only make matters worse. Rather, the defendant will have a day in court to challenge the restraining order at a final restraining order hearing. In fact, the PDVA requires a final hearing within 10 days of the issuance of a temporary restraining order. That is the appropriate forum in which the defendant can contest the restraining order.