If you're a New Jersey resident dealing with protective orders, it's important to find out about the different types of protective orders that exist. Protective orders are orders that provide protection and relief to the alleged victims of abuse.
There are many different types of protection orders, and they are similar in some ways but different in other ways. When most people seek out a protective order, they go for the classic restraining order. In some cases, however, both parties are looking for a more diplomatic approach to a restraint order. This is where civil restraint orders come in.
A civil restraints order is an order that takes the protective order process out of the courtroom and puts it in the hands of the petitioner, the defendant, and their legal counsel. This group will get together and work out a mutual agreement that is agreed upon by all parties. Once the order has been agreed upon, it will be presented to the court. The court will then enforce that order.
Restraining orders are orders where judges listen to the petitioner's testimony and arguments about why they should issue a restraining order against someone. The judge will then determine if the order should or should not be granted.
A civil restraints order gets rid of that entire process and allows both parties to work out an arrangement together. If you're facing a restraining order and you'd prefer to go the civil restraints order route, you need to work with an experienced criminal attorney who can help you through the process.
What Is a Civil Restraints Order?
A civil restraints order is sometimes described as a restraining order contract. In cases involving civil restraining orders, the judges overseeing these cases are not the ones in control of or supervising any of the negotiations. The parties themselves agree to the terms and create an agreement that they will then present to the court. Once it's presented to the court, the court will either accept it or deny it. If accepted, the court will enter it into the record, where it will be enforced. The judge's role in a civil restraints order is to make sure that the order is appropriate and that the agreement is complete.
When dealing with traditional restraining order cases, the judge's job is to figure out what happened between the parties and whether or not they should grant restraint orders. The petitioner needs to get in front of the judge and show that the defendant actually did what they've accused them of doing and that continued protection is necessary. The petitioner will bring forth witnesses and provide testimony about the defendant's alleged actions, and the judge will then determine if the order needs to be authorized. When a civil restraints order is being sought, none of this happens.
While restraining orders and civil restraints orders both provide protection against assault for the petitioner, they're enforced differently. If someone violates a restraining order, they're actually committing a crime and could face criminal charges. The simple act of violating a restraining order is considered a crime, and the violator can face jail time of up to 180 days and pay a fine.
If someone violates a civil restraints order, it's considered a “breach of contract,” and the sanctions or penalties imposed by the court will be civil in nature, not criminal. If the violator commits a crime while violating the civil restraints order, however, they can also face criminal charges.
Provisions of an Ocean County Civil Restraints Order
Both restraining orders and civil restraining orders in Ocean County provide protection from the court, including the following:
- No contact orders
- Orders that allow for limited contact through text messaging or emails
- Orders that allow limited contact in cases where there are child custody issues
- Orders against harassment
- Orders against any assaultive behavior
- Orders against abusive conduct
When the two parties get together in a civil restraints order case, they'll sit down and figure out what measures are necessary for them to reach an agreement. When they have this meeting, they must both be represented by their own legal counsel. No matter what you do, never attempt to have these meetings on your own. If you do, you could be found in violation of any existing restraining order. Remember, restraining orders prevent you from contacting the petitioner, even if you both agree that you want to work out a solution. Go into these negotiations with your attorney present so that you protect yourself at all costs.
When Can a Civil Restraints Order Be Entered?
Civil restraints orders are usually entered during divorce, custody, or child support hearings. If both parties want to sit down and negotiate and enter a civil restraining order, and they're in the middle of the restraining order process, they can only do so once the temporary restraining order has been issued by the court.
When a petitioner files a temporary restraining order, they must file a very detailed petition with the court and then go before the judge at a hearing. At that hearing, the judge will determine if immediate protection is needed.
If a judge decides to issue the order, the first order issued will be a temporary restraining order. The judge will then set a date for the final restraining order hearing, which usually takes place about ten days later. At the final restraining order hearing, the judge will determine if the temporary order needs to remain in place.
If both parties in the case decide that they want to go forward with a civil restraining order, they need to do so in the short period between when the temporary restraining order is issued and before the final restraining order is issued. If the final restraining order hearing has already taken place, they will not be able to file for a civil restraining order.
Advantages of a Civil Restraining Order Over a Traditional Restraining Order
Both petitioners and defendants could find benefit by going the civil restraints order route. In the end, this process may be a lot more advantageous to certain parties than traditional restraining orders.
Some of the advantages to the petitioner include the following:
- They get a guaranteed protection order, something not guaranteed when it comes to regular restraining orders
- They'll be able to avoid the stress that comes with going through a final restraining order hearing
- They're able to choose the terms that make sense for them and their situation
The defendant may also do better with a civil restraining order versus a restraining order. Some of the reasons include the following:
- They're able to negotiate the terms of the agreement
- They avoid the stress of having to go through the final restraining order hearing
- They have the ability to avoid having to go through law enforcement if there are any types of alleged violations
- They're able to avoid the negative employment and professional issues that often come up with having a restraining order on their record
Civil restraints orders are an ideal way to stop restraining order proceedings. The most important thing you need to remember is that if you and the other party are interested in a civil restraints order, it must be filed in between the time the temporary order was issued, and the final restraining order is issued. If the final restraining order has already been issued, you cannot get a civil restraining order.
Civil restraints orders are excellent ways to avoid having to go through restraining order proceedings while at the same time ensuring that petitioners are getting the protections that help them feel safe. It is extremely important that any negotiations are handled by attorneys for both sides. If the judge feels that the proposed civil restraining order is not reasonable or complete, they will not accept it.
What if Someone Violates a Civil Restraining Order?
If someone violates a civil restraints order, it's considered a “breach of contract.” The court will most likely impose some sort of civil penalties. Violating a civil restraints order is much different than violating a traditional restraining order. Violating a traditional restraining order is an actual crime and doing so can land you in jail. The very act of violating the order itself is a crime. Violating a traditional restraining order can result in up to 180 days in jail and as much as a $1,000 fine.
Where Can I File a Civil Restraints Order in Ocean County?
If a temporary restraining order has already been issued at the Ocean County Superior Court, the civil restraints order must be issued in the same court. Civil restraints orders need to be filed in the same courts the temporary restraining order was issued in.
The Ocean County Superior Court is located at:
120 Hooper Avenue
Toms River, New Jersey 08753
The court is open from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Can I Have a Civil Restraints Order Canceled?
A civil restraining order can be canceled by the parties named in the order. They may decide that their circumstances have changed. The only way that a civil restraints order can be canceled is through the judge. It can't be canceled simply because both parties agree to cancel it. If the judge doesn't agree with the order being canceled or decides that the cancellation is not appropriate, they will not cancel it.
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
If you have questions about civil restraints orders in New Jersey, you need to speak with experienced attorneys who have experience dealing with these types of protection orders. It's extremely important that you understand exactly what the Ocean County Superior Court is looking for when a civil restraints order is filed.
Under no circumstances are you to reach out to a petitioner, even if the petitioner agrees with you about getting a civil restraints order. If you reach out to the petitioner while the temporary restraining order is still in effect, you could be in violation of that order, a criminal offense. Make sure that any negotiations go strictly through your attorney.
Joseph D. Lento and the experts at the Lento Law Firm know exactly what to do to help you navigate the civil restraints order process. To learn why the firm may be a good fit for your situation, call us toll-free at 888-535-3686, or contact us online.