NJ Service of a Temporary Restraining Order
Hackensack Domestic Violence Attorneys Serving Bergen County and across New Jersey
Wondering how a temporary restraining order is served in New Jersey? The experienced NJ domestic violence lawyers at The Tormey Law Firm explain the process for service of a TRO. When a person files a temporary restraining order, they must fill out the necessary forms and go before a judge who decides whether or not to issue a TRO. If a temporary restraining order has been issued, the defendant must be served the order as soon as possible and sign to confirm their receipt. The TRO includes the provisions granted by the judge, which essentially means the things you can and cannot do prior to the final restraining order (FRO) hearing, which must be scheduled within a limited time frame (typically within 10 days).
If you or a loved one has been served a temporary restraining order in New Jersey, the legal team at The Tormey Law Firm can help. Our attorneys represent clients dealing with domestic violence matters on a weekly basis. We have handled thousands of restraining order cases throughout New Jersey, including in Paramus, Fort Lee, Union City, Palisades Park, Jersey City, and Hackensack. We understand the restraining order process inside and out, and we will do everything we can to ensure your interests are best represented. Contact us anytime for immediate assistance at (908)-336-5008. The consultation is absolutely free and completely confidential.
How a Temporary Restraining Order is Served in New Jersey
There are multiple scenarios that may lead to service of a TRO in New Jersey. The details of your domestic violence case will determine police procedure for serving you with a temporary restraining order.
If the victim obtained a temporary restraining order and the defendant was not arrested by police beforehand, the officer should escort the victim to his or her home and read the conditions of the TRO to the defendant if they are present. Then, the officer should order the defendant to vacate the premises, giving them a reasonable amount of time to gather their personal belongings. If the TRO requires the defendant to be arrested, the officer must arrest them. The officer will also arrest the defendant if they refuse to comply with the order.
If a temporary restraining order has been issued but hasn’t been served upon the defendant because they could not be located and they are not at the premises, police must attempt to locate the defendant as soon as possible. The domestic violence complaint/TRO should then be forwarded to the applicable Family Court indicating that service could not be made and copies should be kept at police headquarters to serve the defendant as soon as they are found.
When a temporary or final restraining order is issued that requires service outside the issuing county, police must notify the appropriate agency in the municipality in which the defendant resides or works so service can be made.
Once the defendant in a domestic violence case is served the TRO, they must sign indicating they received the document and a copy is sent to the Family Court. It is important to note that if you refuse to sign the temporary restraining order document, the officer will note that you refused to sign but you will still be considered “served.”
The TRO includes the date, time, and location of the final restraining order hearing where you will need to appear. It is highly advisable to retain a knowledgeable domestic violence attorney to represent you at this proceeding.
Violation of a Temporary Restraining Order
After you are served the TRO, you MUST comply with all of its directives or you will be subject to arrest and charges for criminal contempt in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9(b). Violation of a TRO is a serious crime in New Jersey. It is an indictable felony which may result in a prison sentence of up to 18 months if you are convicted. In other words, if the order requires you to stay away from particular places, to avoid communication with specific people, to surrender your firearm or weapons, or it includes a temporary child custody modification, you need to comply or risk criminal prosecution. You will have the chance to fight the accusations against you at the final hearing, at which time the temporary restraining order can be dismissed.
On the bottom of the order , you will see this section and must sign:
“I hereby acknowledge the receipt of the restraining Order. I understand that pursuant to this Court Order, I am not to have any contact with the named plaintiff even if the plaintiff agrees to the contact or invites me onto the premises and that I may be arrested and prosecuted if I violate this Order.”
Under New Jersey law, the parties in a domestic violence case cannot change the terms of a TRO on their own once it has been issued. The order can only be changed or dismissed by the Superior Court, Family Division. As the defendant, you cannot have any contact with the victim while the temporary restraining order is in effect.
If the plaintiff in your case contacts you or says they want to dismiss the restraining order, you cannot do anything until you appear for the FRO hearing. However, you should document any attempts to reach out to you, including voicemails, text messages, emails, etc., This will serve as valuable evidence that can be used at the FRO hearing to show the plaintiff is not in fear of you and is not in need of protection from the court.
Issued a Temporary Restraining Order in New Jersey?
We know the stakes are extremely high in cases involving domestic violence and we are here for you. Contact us today at (908)-336-5008 to speak with a New Jersey temporary restraining order attorney about the process moving forward. We will answer all of your questions and explain what happens next. You can also contact us online to begin a conversation. We also offer appointments at our convenient office locations in Hackensack, Newark, Morristown, and Collingswood, NJ.
To read more about the Legal Aspects of Domestic Violence, click here.