Can You Use Hearsay to Get a Restraining Order?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Sep 07, 2023 | 0 Comments

In New Jersey's court system, restraining orders are commonly used in domestic violence situations to help someone stay safe from the person they have accused of hurting or harassing them. If someone is trying to get a restraining order against you, it's important to understand the evidence that they might be able to bring against you in court. The rules of evidence for court can be complex and confusing. One important nuance is the concept of hearsay.

An Introduction to Hearsay

In a legal context, hearsay refers to out-of-court statements offered to prove the truth of the matter. Hearsay raises a legal problem if the person who made the statement is not available to testify in court and be cross-examined, so the court would be relying on someone else's account of what was said. Because this makes it difficult to establish the credibility of the person who allegedly said the statement in question, hearsay is generally not allowed in court for restraining orders or other matters.

This may sound like good news for your defense if someone is trying to take out a restraining order against you. However, hearsay has several important exceptions that often come up in these types of court cases. If someone is trying to get a restraining order against you, contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team to discuss your specific case and the evidence it involves and get the legal help you need.

Exceptions to Hearsay

There are several important legal exceptions or situations in which hearsay is allowed in court. They include:

  • Party opponent exception. One party in the trial can testify about what the other party in the trial said (or communicated via text message, email, social media post, or other writing). In a restraining order case, this means that the person trying to obtain the restraining order can testify about statements by the person they are trying to get a restraining order against. This means that your conversations—whether spoken or written—with the person trying to get a restraining order against you can be brought into evidence in court.
  • Exception for excited utterances. Under this exception, witnesses can testify about statements someone made related to an unexpected or startling event or condition. This is based on the principle that someone is more likely to be speaking the truth because of the stress or emotion of the situation.
  • Present sense impression exception. Witnesses can also testify about someone's statements if that person is talking about an event or condition that was occurring either at the time of the statement or immediately before it. The logic here is that someone is less likely to misrepresent something if it has just happened—they simply haven't had time to think of how to tell anything other than the truth.

Turn to the Lento Law Firm for Help With Restraining Orders

Hearsay is a complex and nuanced area of the law, but it can have very real implications for whether someone is able to bring a restraining order against you. A restraining order can have a huge impact on your life, and it is important to take very it seriously. Don't try to figure out these legal intricacies on your own. Turn to Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team for help figuring out how these—and other—legal rules apply to the facts of your case. Contact our office by calling 888-535-3686 or using our online contact form.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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