What Does Civil Restraints Mean in New Jersey?

After a temporary restraining order has been imposed by a Municipal Court judge or a judge of a Family Court, the parties can move for "civil restraints" rather than going after a final restraining order. This alternative to the final restraining order is negotiated and agreed to by the parties. It may be appropriate when there has been domestic violence, but it has been less severe than other cases, or a final restraining order would have a negative impact on the family.

If you need help with a restraining order or negotiating civil restraints in New Jersey, you need an experienced New Jersey civil restraints attorney to help. You can protect yourself, your family, and everyone involved through a negotiated set of civil restraints.

New Jersey Civil Restraints Attorney

With many years of experience working in different roles in the New Jersey justice system, Joseph Lento is a uniquely qualified New Jersey attorney with a comprehensive knowledge of how the criminal justice system works, from start to finish.

If you need help with a temporary or final restraining order, or civil restraints in New Jersey and need a comprehensive, customized case, contact the attorneys at the Lento Law Firm. Joseph Lento built his practice on the ideals of customer service and justice and he will fight for your rights and safety. Call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule your free consultation and discover what Joseph Lento can do to help protect you.

Civil Restraints in New Jersey

"Civil restraints" differ from both a temporary and final restraining order in a number of important ways. This is an alternative method that allows the parties to settle domestic violence cases without a trial, and without the need to progress to the hearing on a final restraining order.

After a temporary restraining order is granted by the court, a case is automatically scheduled to determine whether the temporary restraining order should be made final. The imposition of a final restraining order can have a major impact on the person it is imposed upon, and the family unit as a whole. Unless appealed or vacated, a final restraining order remains in effect, possibly forever.

Instead, the parties can agree to dismiss the final restraining order hearing and enter into an agreement for civil restraints instead. If the parties decide to go this route, they and their attorneys negotiate the specific terms of the agreement that they will both follow.  Terms of a civil restraints agreement may include, but are not limited to:

  • a "no contact" order
  • limited contact by text message, email, or some other form of electronic communication
  • exceptions to the no contact order for specific reasons (i.e. to pick up children)
  • geographic restrictions (a party may not go to a certain location or locations, or not be within a certain distance of the protected party)
  • prohibit certain conduct, such as harassment, offensive contact
  • permit close proximity meetings, but forbid physical contact of any kind
  • any other terms the parties agree upon

Violations of Civil Restraint Orders

One of the most important differences between civil restraint orders and both temporary or final restraining orders is the punishment involved for a violation. A violation of a restraining order is a criminal offense that may result in high fines and possible jail or prison time, including up to 18 months in prison for certain cases. A person can be arrested and taken to jail upon a violation of a temporary or final restraining order.

Although civil restraints are legally enforceable and binding upon both parties, and both parties are expected to follow the terms of the agreement, they are not enforceable in the same way that a restraining order is. When a party violates a civil restraint, it is not likely to result in any type of consequence unless specifically requested to the court through a motion.

Once a motion is filed with the court for sanctions as a result of a civil restraint order violation, the court can consider the proof of the violation, and impose certain penalties. This can include financial sanctions but rarely includes jail time.

Why a Civil Restraint May Be the Right Choice for You

A civil restraint order may be the right choice for you, whether you are the victim or the alleged perpetrator of domestic violence.


Victims may choose to dismiss their request for a final restraining order and enter into an agreement for any number of reasons. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • still granted protection from the defendant
  • does not have to go through hearing for final restraining order
  • allows more flexibility in negotiating terms
  • would not impact the defendant's job the victim may rely upon for support for self and kids

If a victim is unsure what the best course of action is, he or she can consult with an attorney to decide what to do next after a temporary protection order is issued.


A defendant who has had a temporary restraining order imposed upon him or her has many reasons to prefer civil restraints, rather than a final restraining order. These include, but are not limited to:

  • provides flexibility in the terms of the agreement
  • will not be arrested for a violation of the agreement
  • unlikely to go to jail for a violation
  • will not have to be fingerprinted or photographed for entry into a statewide database for domestic violence offenders
  • much less likely to have an impact on your job or career

Understanding which option is right for you, rather as the victim or the defendant, is crucial to protecting your rights. An experienced civil restrains attorney can help you determine what the best course of action is in your case.

Consult a New Jersey Civil Restraints Attorney

If you face the imposition of a temporary or final restraining order, or a civil restraint order in New Jersey, an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney can fight to protect your rights. Joseph D. Lento has the years of experience necessary to protect your rights. He will analyze your case and tailor a case to fit your specific needs.

Call (888) 535-3686 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation of your case.

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today


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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