It is difficult to overstate the extent to which an arrest, let alone a conviction, can affect the rest of a person's life. The most significant consequence of breaking the law, of course, is doing time in jail or prison. Being on probation or parole is no picnic, either, and then there are the heavy fines that the judge might impose. A person convicted of a crime can spend years paying off that debt.
Adding insult to that fire is the fact that having a conviction on your record makes it more difficult to find employment in the first place.
But what about a restraining order (RO)? How will that impact the remainder of your life, particularly your ability to earn a living? Read on to find out all about restraining orders and job prospects.
A Brief Introduction to Restraining Orders
A restraining order is a tool used by the New Jersey courts to protect victims of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse. It prohibits the defendant from coming into contact with the plaintiff. The alleged abuser can no longer call, text, email, or message the person who took out the RO. They must stay away from the plaintiff's home, place of employment, and school.
A restraining order isn't necessarily a crime in the eyes of the law; rather, it's a civil matter between the two parties. Violating the protective order, however, can lead to criminal charges—and all the ramifications we discussed above. The New Jersey judicial system takes any violation of restraining orders very seriously. In fact, the alleged abuser can be found in violation even if it's the plaintiff who initiates contact with them.
Another Potential Repercussion of an RO
Depending on the location and occupation of the defendant, they may be required by law to report the restraining order to their employer or any professional licensing board. Anyone whose job requires licensing or certification—doctors, dentists, nurses, EMTs, home inspectors, private detectives, and real estate agents, just to name a few—may soon find themselves the subject of an investigation.
Do TROs Show Up in Background Checks?
Usually, the answer to this is “no”—unless there were criminal charges filed. The exception is when the industry or employer requires the worker to have security clearance or carry a weapon, or if a TRO (temporary restraining order) becomes an FRO (final restraining order), especially after the defendant's name is placed in the New Jersey Domestic Violence Central Registry. In these situations, defendants could lose their current positions, and it will be more difficult to obtain employment in the future.
ROs Taken Out Against Coworkers
Another scenario that's liable to involve a pink slip is if the plaintiff and defendant are coworkers. The two parties might be involved in a romantic or dating relationship. Or maybe two employees have a history of altercations leading to one party taking out the restraining order against the other. In either of these situations, the risk of losing one's job or having difficulty finding another one is greater than average.
Again, it depends on the specifics of the job and industry, company, parties involved, type of abuse or harassment, the defendant's record, and other factors. The potential professional damage that a restraining order can do is impossible to predict, and every case must be evaluated separately.
The Next Step to Secure Your Future Career
To discuss the unique circumstances of your career, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today. We can schedule a consultation to evaluate your case and determine how to minimize the impact of a restraining order on your future, both personal and professional. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or use our convenient contact form.