Final Restraining Orders in New Jersey
Need an Attorney for a Final Restraining Order Hearing in NJ? We Can Help
A final restraining order hearing is essentially a trial before a Superior Court Judge. Therefore, it is imperative that you hire a trial attorney who is familiar with these types of hearings as well as the subject matter. Although restraining orders is NJ are civil and are handled in the family division, they also have a lot of criminal law elements as all of the predicate acts of domestic violence (assault, harassment, terroristic threats, stalking) are enumerated under the New Jersey criminal code. Our NJ restraining order attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm LLC are criminal lawyers who also do restraining orders because of the close ties and similarities between these areas of law.
Is a Final Restraining Order Permanent in New Jersey?
If a final restraining order is issued in NJ, it is permanent and never expires. Thus, it is imperative that you avoid the issuance of an FRO before it is too late.
If you or a loved one needs legal representation at a Final Restraining Order (FRO) hearing, the restraining order attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm LLC can help. Our experienced lawyers have been prosecuting and defending against restraining orders in every county in NJ for many years including in Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, and Morris Counties. In fact, our managing partner, Travis J. Tormey, has been recognized as a legal resource for domestic violence by CBS radio, the Star Ledger, and the Daily Record. Contact our offices anytime for immediate assistance at (908)-336-5008. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.
Here are some examples of our successes during real NJ restraining order cases:
- Final restraining order (FRO) dismissed after trial in Hudson County NJ
- Restraining order dismissed after final hearing Morristown NJ
- Bergen County NJ final restraining order hearing won by the Tormey Law Firm LLC
Here is a review from one of our many satisfied restraining order clients in New Jersey:
Posted by Stanley
“After receiving a Restraining Order by an ex girlfriend accusing me of harassment which was false, I contacted the law firm. They were very professional and help to keep me calm and relaxed. Travis and Chris helped me to get all the information I needed. I was also in the process of obtaining a high level position when this happened and was concerned about it affecting me getting the new job. Chris helped to get the case dismissed as quickly as possible and did an excellent job of keeping me informed. They are a great law firm and would recommend them to anyone.”
To Get a Final Restraining Order in New Jersey, You Need to Prove 3 Things: An Act of Domestic Violence, A Prior History of Violence, and a Need for Protection
Once a temporary restraining order (TRO) is issued by a Superior Court Judge, the case will be listed for a final restraining order hearing. This hearing is usually scheduled within 10 days of the issuance of the TRO.
The purpose of the FRO hearing is to determine whether or not a final or permanent restraining order should issue. Essentially, a Superior Court Judge in the Family Division will hear all the evidence and determine if he or she believes there are grounds for a restraining order. The essential elements the plaintiff must prove are as follows:
- A predicate act of domestic violence occurred. There can be multiple acts found by the Judge but there must be at least one for a final restraining order to issue. Predicate acts including assault, stalking, harassment, terroristic threats, etc.
- A prior history of domestic violence exists. This element can be overcome if the predicate act is so egregious that a final restraining order must issue. For example, if there was a violent attack where the plaintiff suffered a broken bone or was stabbed, then no prior history of violence would be necessary to obtain a permanent restraining order in NJ.
- A restraining order is necessary to protect the safety and well being of the plaintiff. Essentially, a reasonable person would be in fear for their safety based on the domestic violent acts of the defendant.
How do I prove the Elements Necessary to Get a Permanent Restraining Order
The most important evidence in a restraining order trial will always be the testimony of the parties. The Plaintiff goes first and will explain the alleged acts of domestic violence, any alleged prior history, and if they are in fear for their safety. Then, the Plaintiff will submit any evidence they have to the court to substantiate this testimony including but not limited to:
- Pictures of injuries
- Videos of altercations
- Text messages
- Social Media Postings, Messages
- Police Reports
- Hospital Records
This evidence will be used to convince the Judge that a final restraining order is necessary and should be issued. Then, the Defendant will testify (if they choose to do so) and admit any evidence they have. After all of the evidence and testimony is heard, the Judge will make a ruling on the case.
Consequences of a Final Restraining Order Being Issued
If the Judge finds that there is insufficient evidence, the temporary restraining order will be dismissed. At that point, all of the previous restraints are removed and the parties will go about their business as usual. If a new act of domestic violence allegedly occurs, the Plaintiff can always attempt to file for a new temporary restraining order. However, he or she can not file for a new temporary restraining order based on these previously litigated allegations.
On the other hand, if the Judge finds all three elements required to obtain a permanent restraining order, by a preponderance of evidence which is the standard of evidence for civil cases in New Jersey, then a Final Restraining Order (FRO) will issue. These are permanent in NJ and never expire. The collateral consequences include the following:
- The defendant is fingerprinted and placed in a domestic violence database for offenders
- The defendant cannot have any contact with the plaintiff or any other protected parties listed in the FRO. If the defendant violates the FRO, he or she will be arrested and charged criminally with contempt. A second violation requires mandatory incarceration.
- The defendant can not own firearms and must forfeit any firearms previously owned.
- The defendant will be detained when traveling at airports to confirm that he or she is not traveling with the plaintiff or following them
The restraining order can be appealed and also can be vacated in the future depending on the circumstances of the original hearing.
Because these proceedings are civil in nature, the defendant does not have a right to a public defender and can obtain private counsel or represent themselves. Plaintiffs who can not afford counsel can typically obtain a free lawyer through domestic violence groups.
Once a Final Restraining Order is Issued against me, how can I remove it?
There are essentially three ways to remove a final restraining order in New Jersey after it has been issued. First, you can appeal the Judge’s decision and win. You have 45 days to appeal the issuance of the FRO and you must file an appeal to the Appellate Division in Trenton. Second, at any point in the future, the plaintiff can voluntarily dismiss the restraining order. He or she must go to court and place it on the record so the Judge can confirm they are not being threatened or coerced to do so.
Finally, you can file a motion to have the restraining order removed after some time has passed and you can argue that there has been a significant change in circumstances such that the restraining order is no longer necessary and should be lifted. If both parties move away and live in different states, there have never been any violations of the order, and some years have passed since the issuance of the original restraining order, the defendant has a viable motion to have the restraining order removed.
I need a lawyer for a Final Restraining Order in New Jersey – Contact the Tormey Law Firm Now
If you or a loved one has a final restraining order hearing fastly approaching, act now. You need legal representation to have your rights properly protected. Contact our experienced restraining order attorneys now for a free initial consultation at (908)-336-5008.