A final restraining order imposed by a judge can be vacated, or revoked, but requires a special process. Otherwise, it could remain in effect for the rest of your life. Violation of a restraining order can be a criminal offense, even when the protected party wants to lift the order, and consents to contact. Even in these cases, you could be charged with a criminal offense. Instead, with the help of a knowledgeable attorney, you can file a motion to vacate the restraining order.
If you need help to vacate a final restraining order in New Jersey, you need an experienced New Jersey restraining order attorney to help. You should not have to live with this order forever.
New Jersey Temporary and Final Restraining Order 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 to vacate a restraining order 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.
How to Vacate a Final Restraining Order in New Jersey
A final restraining order can be vacated in one of two different ways. First, the victim him or herself can request the court to vacate the final restraining order. This may occur because:
- the victim has forgiven the defendant
- the parties have reconciled and wish to get back together
- sufficient time has passed, and the victim no longer fears the defendant
- the defendant and victim have children together, and they wish to normalize their relationship
- the victim does not wish the defendant to risk criminal charges
Whatever the reason, the victim has the right to request the motion to be vacated.
The second way the final restraining order may be lifted is through the request of the defendant. If a defendant wants the final restraining order lifted, he or she must file a motion with the Superior Court, Family Division. The motion must set forth the reasons the order should be lifted. It should also consider all of the factors that a judge is required to consider when making his or her decision about whether to vacate the final restraining order.
How the Judge Decides
When a judge receives the motion to vacate the final protection order, whether from the victim or the defendant, the judge must consider certain factors set forth by New Jersey law. Those factors are:
- Does the victim consent to lifting the Restraining Order?
- Does the victim fear the Defendant?
- The present nature of the relationship between the parties.
- How many times has the Defendant been convicted of contempt for violating the Order, if any?
- Has the Defendant had a continuing involvement with drug or alcohol abuse?
- Has the Defendant been involved in other violent acts with other persons?
- Has the Defendant engaged in counseling?
- The overall health and age of the Defendant.
- Is the victim acting in good faith when opposing Defendant's request?
- Has another jurisdiction entered a Restraining Order protecting the victim from the Defendant?
- Any other factors deemed relevant by the Court.
As you can see, if you have the consent of the victim in lifting the order, the request is far more likely to succeed. A judge can satisfy more of the factors and more quickly with the cooperation of the victim who has previously been under the protection of the order.
What if the Victim Opposes the Motion?
You can still lift the restraining order even if the victim opposes the motion to vacate. While it requires more work, with the help of your attorney you can demonstrate that the final restraining order is no longer necessary.
This can be done by showing:
- you no longer pose a risk to the victim
- you have had no further instances of violence in your record
- you have received counseling
- you have received drug or alcohol abuse treatment (if applicable to your case)
- the victim has contacted you on multiple occasions in violation of the order
- the victim is not acting in good faith in opposing the request
- you have no other protection orders against you, either with this victim or any other
- you wish to have contact with children or family members connected to the protection order
- any other factors that show the motion is no longer necessary or appropriate
Filing a motion over the opposition of a victim is more difficult, but still very doable. Do not assume just because the victim opposes the motion that it will be denied; that is simply not the case. Every case is different, and with the help of a skilled attorney, you can make your case to the judge in the best way possible.
Why Should I Vacate the Restraining Order?
Every day that the restraining order remains in effect, the risk of violation hangs over your head. Violating a protection order is a criminal offense under New Jersey law. You can be charged with a fourth-degree crime and face penalties including:
- a maximum of 18 months in prison; and
- a maximum possible fine of up to $25,000
If the offense is deemed a petty disorderly persons offense, you face the following penalties:
- up to 6 months in jail; and
- a fine of up to $1,000
A simple motion to vacate could lift all of these risks. All too often, people forget about their orders or assume they are stuck with them forever. Remember that "Final" does not mean "Permanent" when it comes to restraining orders.
Consult a New Jersey Temporary & Permanent Restraining Order Attorney
If you need to lift a final restraining order in New Jersey, an experienced New Jersey restraining order 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.