Morris County, New Jersey Civil Restraints Attorney
It is important for New Jersey residents to understand the different types of protective orders that are offered by the state's courts. The protection that these orders offer is similar in some ways but different in others. Restraining orders are frequently sought by alleged victims of assault or abuse, but another more diplomatic approach exists in New Jersey: a civil restraints order.
If someone is seeking a civil restraints order, then the case is taken out of the judge's hands and put in the hands of the parties, allowing them to negotiate terms. Restraining order cases are completely within the control and authority of the judge, where the judge acts as both a factfinder and the final decision-maker. A civil restraints order gives the parties a chance to work things out without court interference. It is important that you are represented by counsel regardless of what side you are on in a civil restraints order case. If you are facing a restraining order, then make sure that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.
What Is a Civil Restraints Order?
A civil restraints order is a type of restraining order that is mutually agreed upon the same way a contract is. The presiding judge is not involved when the parties negotiate and agree on material terms. The judge's role in a civil restraints order case is to review the final agreement for completeness and reasonableness. If the civil restraints order is reasonable on its face and is not missing important terms, then the judge will accept and enter the order.
If a case is going through the restraining order process, then the judge has multiple roles in the proceedings. He or she must oversee a hearing to determine what did or did not happen between the parties and must also make a final decision on what type of protection is necessary, if any. Both the petitioner and defendant in a restraining order case have the opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence to prove their side of the story. If a case goes through the civil restraints process, this hearing is avoided to allow the parties to mutually determine what should happen going forward.
Restraining orders and civil restraints orders are similar in the type of court-ordered protection they offer against unwanted contact and assault. They are both civil orders, but alleged violations are treated differently by the court. If someone is accused of violating a restraining order, then they can face criminal charges for even the slightest violation. Restraining order violations are criminal offenses even if the alleged actions are not a crime on their own. If someone is accused of violating a civil restraints order, then they typically face civil sanctions from the court, similar to how a contract can be enforced if there is a breach.
Provisions of a Morris County Civil Restraints Order
Both restraining orders and civil restraints orders in Morris County can offer a petitioner court protection, which includes:
- Orders prohibiting contact between the parties
- Specifically limited contact through text message or email
- Specifically limited contact related to child custody
- A prohibition against any assaultive or abusive conduct by the defendant
- A prohibition against harassing conduct by the defendant
These are just some of the common orders that can be included. Attorneys for both the petitioner and defendant will negotiate terms that are agreeable for both sides in a civil restraints order. Do not attempt to do this on your own without counsel, as doing so can violate existing court orders.
When Can A Civil Restraints Order Be Entered?
Civil restraints orders are generally entered during divorce proceedings or other domestic proceedings like a restraining order case. If a civil restraints order is sought during a restraining order case, then it typically occurs after a temporary restraining order (TRO) has already been granted by the court.
If someone wants court protection due to an alleged assault or abuse from someone else, then the alleged victim must fill out and submit a restraining order petition. The individual is then brought in for a hearing with a judge to determine if the allegations give rise to immediate court protection. If immediate protection is needed, then the judge will grant a temporary restraining order and set a date for a hearing to determine if permanent protection is warranted. This final hearing generally occurs within ten days of the temporary order. This 10-day period is when civil restraints order negotiations typically take place, allowing the parties to avoid conducting a final hearing. A civil restraints order generally cannot be negotiated after a final restraining order has already been granted.
Advantages of a Civil Restraints Order Over a Restraining Order
Civil restraints orders and restraining orders are similar in many ways, and the parties involved can find advantages to choosing one type of order over the other. Some of the advantages a petitioner may realize in a civil restraints order include:
- Guaranteed protective orders
- The ability to avoid the costs and uncertainty of a final restraining order hearing in front of the judge
- The ability to dictate which provisions are most important
There are many potential reasons why a petitioner may choose a civil restraints order over a restraining order. Some of the advantages a defendant may realize in a civil restraints order include:
- The ability to have some control over the provisions
- Avoiding the costs of a final restraining order hearing
- Avoiding a restraining order being granted against them
- Avoiding law enforcement if there are alleged restraining order violations
- Avoiding employment and professional issues that can arise when a restraining order is granted
If the petitioner and defendant negotiate a civil restraints order, then the restraining order process in court will stop. Once all material terms are agreed upon, the parties will submit a written agreement to the court for acceptance and entry. If the agreement is unreasonable or incomplete, then the judge can require the parties to agree on any remaining issues before it is accepted and entered by the court.
What Happens if Someone Violates a Civil Restraints Order?
If someone is alleged to violate a provision of a civil restraints order, then he or she will typically face civil penalties, such as a fine. If someone is alleged to violate a provision of a restraining order, then he or she will typically face criminal penalties, such as a charge of criminal contempt. If a defendant is convicted of criminal contempt, then he or she can be sentenced to as many as 180 days in jail and fined up to $1,000.
Where Can I File a Civil Restraints Order in Morris County?
A civil restraints order must be filed in the same court where a temporary restraining order would be filed. If someone is seeking a civil restraints order in Morris County, then it must be filed with the Morris County Superior Court. If a restraining order has been filed, then any final hearings will be canceled once a civil restraints order is filed.
The Morris County Superior Court is located at:
56 Washington St
Morristown, NJ 07960
The Court is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Monday-Friday.
Make sure that you have an attorney's help if you are facing a restraining order issue or for negotiating the provisions of a civil restraints order. If you attempt to defend a restraining order or civil restraints order case on your own, then you can potentially face a violation of existing court orders.
Can I Have a Civil Restraints Order Canceled?
Yes, if the parties later determine that their needs have changed and court protection is no longer necessary, then they can request that the court cancel the existing civil restraints order. The court will review the case and overall situation to make sure that canceling the order is appropriate and safe. The parties do not have sole discretion to enter or cancel orders as the judge must approve of any agreements. If the judge does not approve of the cancelation of a civil restraints order, then its provisions will stay in place until the parties change the judge's mind. If you have questions, then call us at The Lento Law Firm!
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
If you have questions about civil restraints orders in New Jersey, then make sure that you ask an experienced attorney. It is essential to know what the Morris County Superior Court is seeking when determining whether to grant a civil restraints order. The attorneys at the Lento Law Firm have the experience and ability necessary to put you in the best position for success, regardless of your situation. To learn why the Lento Law Firm is the right choice, call us toll-free at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.