Drugging and Restraining Orders: What You Need to Know

Drugging allegations by a partner or ex-partner should never be taken lightly. If your partner or ex-partner is claiming you drugged them, there are a few extremely concerning legal actions you can expect them to take: criminal charges and a restraining order. There are numerous criminal charges associated with drugging, and restraining orders can be imposed even without criminal convictions and lead to serious long-term consequences. If you are being accused of drugging a partner or ex-partner, you need to get ahead of this. The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team is experienced in both criminal law and restraining order cases. Our attorneys will ensure your rights are protected on all fronts and put up a vigorous defense against these drugging allegations in both criminal and civil court if necessary. To speak with the Lento Law Firm attorneys, call 888-535-3686 or contact us online today. 

What Does New Jersey Consider Drugging? 

In New Jersey, there is no legal definition of drugging or just one specific law prohibiting the involuntary drugging of another person. The generally accepted definition of drugging is to put drugs into a person's drink or body without their knowledge or consent.  

Drugging can be connected with numerous crimes and, therefore, can result in you facing more than one criminal charge if allegations of drugging are made against you. Crimes you may be charged with following a drugging allegation include:  

Simple and Aggravated Assault. Drugging can be considered a simple or an aggravated assault. In New Jersey, simple assault occurs when a person "attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another." Aggravated assault is a more serious crime; a person will be found guilty of aggravated assault if the person "attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another or causes injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such injury." 

Poisoning. Under New Jersey law, poisoning is called tampering, and it is a third-degree criminal offense. The last states it is a crime for a person to "knowingly tamper[] with a cosmetic, drug, or food product." 

False Imprisonment. False imprisonment occurs if a party knowingly restrains another person unlawfully to interfere substantially with their liberty. 

Sexual Assault. When a sexual act occurs when a person is drugged, the drugged person cannot consent to the act, as is required under the law. Under New Jersey law, sexual assault includes committing a sexual act using coercion or without the victim's affirmative and freely given permission, and if the sexual act is committed by someone who knew or should have known the victim was physically helpless or incapacitated.  

Reckless Endangerment. In New Jersey, it is a crime to participate in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person. With reckless endangerment, there is no requirement that harm occurred; this means that if a person is drugged, there is no injury or harm. As a result, the person could still be facing a criminal reckless endangerment charge.  

Drug Offenses. Depending on the type of drug used, a person can also face a drug-related offense. If the drug used is an illegal substance, they may be subject to possession of an illegal substance or other drug charges.  

When Does Drugging Become a Domestic Violence Matter? 

Drugging becomes a domestic violence matter when you have a particular relationship with the person whom you have allegedly drugged. There are 19 crimes considered to be domestic violence under New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. Many of the crimes listed above fall within the scope of domestic violence. For these crimes to be considered domestic violence in New Jersey, the person you have drugged must be on or more of the following:  

  • A spouse  
  • A former spouse or spouse you are currently separated from  
  • A person you have shared a residence with  
  • A person you are expecting a child with  
  • A person you share a child with  
  • A person you have or are currently dating    

So long as the person you drugged falls into one of the above categories, they can file for a temporary restraining order against you for drugging them. Your partner or ex-partner may also file criminal charges against you at this time. Criminal charges and a request for a restraining order are two separate things, and your Lento Law Firm Team can represent you in both matters. 

Can a Judge Issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) Against You Without a Criminal Conviction? 

Very little is required for your partner or ex-partner to obtain a temporary restraining order against you. In fact, in some circumstances, such as when domestic violence is involved, you will not even have the opportunity to defend yourself or be notified before A New Jersey Superior Court judge issues a TRO against you. This type of TRO, where you are not first notified or allowed to defend yourself, is called an ex-parte TRO. The Superior Court judge will make a decision solely based on the information your partner or ex-partner presented about you drugging them. The judge can grant a TRO in response to the drugging allegation if they believe it is necessary to protect your partner or ex-partner's life, health, or well-being. A judge may also issue a TRO as a sexual assault restraining order if your partner or ex-partner is alleging a sexual assault occurred at the time of the drugging.  

TROs typically contain stipulations that prevent you from contacting and coming within a certain physical distance of the plaintiff. The TRO will be effective for a maximum of 10 days. A hearing for a final restraining order (FRO) must be scheduled for some time within that 10-day period. When the New Jersey Superior Court issues a TRO against you for allegedly drugging your partner or ex-partner, you will be notified by law enforcement, who will serve you with the TRO. When law enforcement serves you with the TRO, they force you to leave your home if you live with your partner or ex-partner. Even if you own the home or the home is rented in your name, your partner will be permitted to stay, and you will be barred from the residence. If you have any firearms registered to you, law enforcement will temporarily confiscate your weapons during the TRO period.  

Will You Face a Final Restraining Order (FRO) for Alleged Drugging? 

Whether a FRO will be issued against you for drugging your partner or ex-partner will be determined at your FRO hearing. This is your opportunity to defend yourself, but you should never go to an FRO hearing without your attorney. You should contact the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team as soon as you are served with a TRO. As you know, you have less than 10 days to prepare your defense. Our Criminal Defense Team has successfully represented countless defendants at domestic violence drugging FRO hearings. 

At your FRO hearing, your Lento Law Firm attorneys will present your side of the story, present evidence, and call witnesses if applicable. At the end of the hearing, the judge will determine if an FRO is appropriate as a result of the drugging allegation. A FRO typically includes provisions prohibiting contact between you and your ex-partner and requiring you to stay a certain physical distance from your ex-partner. Additional provisions may be regarding temporary child custody, financial support payments, payments of mortgages, rent or other bills, and even therapy requirements.  

Can a New Jersey FRO be Appealed? 

You can appeal an FRO within 45 days of its issuance, but its success rate varies. If your ex-partner has filed criminal charges against you, appealing a restraining order likely won't get you very far. Because success on appeal isn't great, it is important to retain the Lento Law Firm before a FRO is issued. Your best chance of avoiding an FRO and the subsequent consequences is to have the Lento Law Firm present a strong defense at your FRO hearing.  

What are the Consequences of a Final Restraining Order?  

If a FRO is issued against you for drugging your partner or ex-partner, you will be immediately placed on New Jersey's Domestic Violence Registry and a national domestic violence registry. You will also face a $500 fine and be prohibited from owning a firearm. Additionally, as with a TRO, a FRO may result in removal from your home. Even if you are removed from your home, your TRO may require you to continue paying the mortgage or rent. Under the TRO, you may also be required to pay child and spousal support. Perhaps most upsetting is a TRO may result in you losing custody of your children.  

FROs may also impact your professional life. FROs are civil orders; this means they will not come up on a criminal background check. Just because your FRO will not be picked up on a criminal background check does not mean you are in the clear. You are still visible to the public on New Jersey's Domestic Violence Registry and the National Domestic Violence Registry. It is possible that an employer will search these registries in addition to completing a background check.  

What Happens if You Violate the Restraining Order Against You? 

As stated above, FROs are civil violations, but violating a TRO or FRO against you may be a criminal offense, and law enforcement will enforce the restraining order. A violation of the restraining order will fall under the category of a criminal violation and criminal contempt of a court order if it concerns contacting, harassing, or harming your ex-partner. New Jersey law specifically prohibits "purposely or knowingly violat[ing] any provision in an order entered under the provisions of the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act;" doing such is a fourth-degree criminal violation. Violating your FRO is also considered a disorderly person offense, under the law prohibiting you from "purposely or knowingly violat[ing] a condition to avoid contact with an alleged victim." If you have committed a criminal violation, you will be placed under arrest and face fines, criminal charges, and jail time.  

How Long Does the Final Restraining Order Last?  

Unlike TROs, New Jersey FROs never expire and are enforceable in every U.S. state and territory. FROs can be modified or dismissed only by making a request to the court and having a hearing before a judge in the Family Division of the New Jersey Superior Court. Your partner cannot just recant their drugging allegations against you and decide the FRO is no longer needed. While you are in the process of requesting an FRO dismissal, you still cannot have contact with your partner; doing so would be a violation of the FRO, and you could face prosecution. Just because your TRO is dismissed does not mean any criminal charges against you for drugging your partner will be dismissed; these criminal matters will still be dealt with through the criminal court system and are not connected to Family Division matters.  

Hire a Skilled Attorney to Fight an Allegation of Drugging  

Allegations of drugging a partner or ex-partner are serious and can have a wide range of short-term and long-term consequences. Criminal charges and a restraining order are a real and present threat that could ruin your life. The seasoned attorneys at the Lento Law Firm are well-versed in all matters of drugging-related charges, TROs, and FROs. Our Team will work with you to learn all the facts of your case to build an effective defense, giving you the best chances of successful outcomes in any criminal charges or FRO hearings. The Lento Law Firm will always take your case with the utmost seriousness it deserves and fight for your rights. Retain the Lento Law Firm today by calling us at 888-535-3686 or contacting us online.  

​​​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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