Parsippany Restraining Order Dismissed
Need Lawyer for Restraining Order Trial in Morristown? Call Us
Facing a Morris County NJ Restraining Order arising out of Parsippany? Travis J. Tormey recently represented a client who was facing a final restraining order (FRO) at the Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, New Jersey. Our client was a volunteer fireman in Morris County with no prior criminal record who had recently broken up with his girlfriend of several months. Unfortunately for him, she broke up with him over text message and he was unable to get any closure with a “face to face” conversation. Then, he happened to run into her at a local pub in Parsippany and followed her home in an attempt to speak to her about their relationship. This was only two (2) days after she had broken up with him over the phone. His ex-girlfriend then filed a restraining order against him claiming that he was stalking her and she was in fear for her safety.
What happens after a TRO is filed?
After a temporary restraining order (TRO) is filed, a final restraining order hearing is scheduled within 10 days. The parties then appear in court and the plaintiff decides whether or not they want to dismiss, discuss a potential settlement agreement (known as civil restraints), or proceed with the trial. The Judge will usually allow one postponement of the case to discuss a possible resolution, seek legal counsel, and to prepare your evidence for trial. The plaintiff has the burden of proof and must prove everything by a preponderance of evidence which means “more likely than not”. In order to obtain a final restraining order which is permanent in NJ and never expires, she must show that there was an act of domestic violence, a prior history of domestic violence, and that she’s in fear for her safety and needs the protection of the court. If she can show all of these elements by a preponderance of the evidence, then the Judge will issue a permanent restraining order. If not, the temporary restraining order will be dismissed.
NOTE: If the case is dismissed, there is no record of it and there is nothing to expunge off your background.
Can I talk to the Plaintiff to try and get her to drop it or negotiate a settlement agreement?
No. Once the restraining order is issued, you are prohibited from contacting her or having someone contact her on your behalf. If you do, this is a violation of a restraining order which is a contempt criminal charge in New Jersey. You will be arrested and prosecuted by the Morris County Prosecutor’s office on this charge. Therefore, you should hire legal counsel if you are interested in discussing a potential settlement agreement and resolution with the plaintiff. Your attorney can reach out to her or her legal counsel to discuss a potential settlement agreement and dismissal of the restraining order. However, if she is not interested in dismissing the case, then the case will proceed to trial with the Judge.
The Final Hearing in Court
In this case, after a final restraining order (FRO) hearing before a Superior Court Judge in Morris County, the judge dismissed the restraining order. At the final hearing, the plaintiff testified and gave her version of events. Then, Mr. Tormey was able to cross examine her and attack her credibility and show that she was not in fear for her safety and that the parties had just broken up 2 days before the alleged stalking incident. The Plaintiff can admit evidence such as text messages, voicemails, emails, police reports, hospital records, and can call any witnesses that have first hand knowledge of the incident. However, the Plaintiff and Defendant can not call character witnesses to basically say that they are a good person and the other party is a liar and a bad person. They can testify to incidents of violence however if they have witnessed them personally. They can’t testify to what the other party told them, as that is hearsay and would be inadmissible at trial.
Here, the Judge listened to the testimony, examined the evidence and dismissed the case because he did not find that stalking occurred for multiple reasons. First, stalking requires a “course of conduct” meaning multiple events of following, tracking, etc. In addition, the court found that our client’s intentions were to speak to her about their relationship, not to alarm her in any way. However, the plaintiff made it clear that she did not want to have any further contact with our client and any future contact could be deemed harassment or stalking and grounds for a new restraining order.
This was a great result for our client and the law firm. The temporary restraining order (TRO) was dismissed and our client avoided a permanent restraining order hanging over his head for the rest of his life.
If a final restraining order had been issued, the defendant would have 45 days to appeal. He would have been fingerprinted, placed in a New Jersey statewide database for domestic violence offenders, prohibited from owning or possessing firearms, could have effected his job and any professional licenses he possesses, etc. If an appeal was not successful, the restraining order remains with the defendant for life unless they can file a motion to have it removed down the road. The defendant must show that a lot of time has passed and circumstances have significantly changed so that the final restraining order (FRO) is no longer necessary and should be lifted by the Court.
Based on all these serious and permanent consequences, it was crucial that this case was dismissed in court by the Judge.
Parsippany Final Restraining Order Attorneys NJ
If you or a loved one needs assistance with a permanent restraining order in Morris County NJ, contact the Tormey Law Firm for help. Our attorneys are available immediately to assist you at (908)-336-5008 and the initial consultation is always provided free of charge.