There are several different types of protective orders that are available in New Jersey by the state's courts to alleged victims of assault. Different types of protective orders are available for different types of situations. Restraining orders are popular measures for alleged victims when seeking protective orders from a court. A different type of protective order can be sought where the parties desire to take a more diplomatic approach, 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 people involved. This allows them to negotiate appropriate terms. A restraining order case is completely within the control and authority of the judge, who acts as both a factfinder and the final decision-maker. A civil restraints order gives the people involved a chance to work things out without court interference. It is important that you are represented by an attorney regardless of which side you are on in a restraining order case. If you are a defendant 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 kind of restraining order that is agreed upon by the people involved in the same way you agree to things in a contract. The judge is not involved when this happens. The judge's only job is to make sure that the final agreement is complete and reasonable. If the civil restraints order seems reasonable and there are no missing important terms, then the judge will accept and enter the order.
There are multiple things a judge does in a restraining order case. The judge must listen to both sides and decide what happened and what protection, if any, is necessary. The petitioner and the defendant have the chance to present evidence during a restraining order hearing to prove their story. If a case goes through the civil restraints process, the restraining order hearing is avoided so that both parties can agree on what protection is needed going forward.
Restraining orders and civil restraints orders both offer court-ordered protection against unwanted contact and assault from a specific person. Neither are criminal orders as they are both civil in nature, but the enforcement of the order is accomplished in different ways. If a restrained party (the defendant) is accused of violating a restraining order provision, then he or she can face criminal prosecution for even the smallest violation. Restraining order violations result in criminal charges even if the allegations don't involve criminal conduct. If a restrained party (the defendant) is accused of violating a civil restraints order provision, then he or she generally faces civil sanctions that are similar to contract breach sanctions.
Provisions of a Passaic County Civil Restraints Order
Both restraining orders and civil restraints orders in Passaic County can offer court-ordered protection to an alleged victim, which includes:
- No contact orders between the parties
- Limited contact orders that allow contact through text message or email
- Limited contact orders that allow contact related to child custody
- No assaultive or abusive conduct by the defendant
- No harassing conduct by the defendant
Other provisions can be ordered depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. It is best to have licensed attorneys handle the negotiations when determining what should go in a civil restraints order. Attempting to do this on your own can be dangerous as it could violate any existing orders prohibiting contact.
When Can A Civil Restraints Order Be Entered?
It is most common to enter a civil restraints order during a domestic proceeding such as a divorce or restraining order case. Civil restraints orders that are negotiated during restraining order cases occur after a temporary restraining order (TRO) has been authorized by the court.
If an alleged victim is seeking court protection from an individual, then he or she must fill out a restraining order petition that details what took place. Once the petition is received by the court, then the petitioner will participate in a hearing with the judge, where the judge will decide if immediate court protection is necessary. If the judge finds that immediate protection is necessary, then the petitioner is granted a temporary restraining order. The judge will simultaneously set a hearing within ten days to determine if the protections should be made permanent.
This 10-day period before the final hearing is when civil restraints orders can be negotiated. Doing so will allow the parties to avoid participating in a final hearing. A civil restraints order is generally not available until after a final restraining order has been authorized by the court.
Advantages of a Civil Restraints Order Over a Restraining Order
Restraining orders and civil restraints orders offer similar protections, but the way that civil restraints orders are reached offers some advantages to the parties involved. Some of the advantages a petitioner may find in a civil restraints order include:
- Guaranteed court protection without a final hearing
- Avoiding the costs and stress of a final restraining order hearing
- The power to command which provisions should be included
These are just some of the reasons why a petitioner may choose a civil restraints order over a restraining order. Some of the advantages a defendant may find in a civil restraints order include:
- The ability to negotiate the provisions
- Avoiding a final restraining order hearing
- Avoiding a restraining order
- Avoiding the police involvement that comes with a restraining order if violations are alleged
- Avoiding employment and professional issues that can accompany a restraining order
Once the parties decide to negotiate a civil restraints order, the restraining order process will pause until there is a resolution made. Once an agreement is reached on the terms of a civil restraints order, then the parties will submit it to the judge for approval and entry. If there are any remaining issues or the agreement appears unreasonable, then the judge can decline to approve it until the issues are fixed.
What Happens if Someone Violates a Civil Restraints Order?
Civil restraints order violations are typically met with a civil enforcement measure, such as a fine. This differs from restraining order violations, as those violations lead to criminal charges and prosecution. If a defendant is alleged to violate a restraining order, then a criminal contempt charge typically follows. A conviction of a violation results in up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Civil restraints orders don't typically result in criminal charges unless the violation was criminal in nature.
Where Can I File a Civil Restraints Order in Passaic County?
A civil restraints order must be filed in the local county Superior Court. If a petitioner wants a civil restraints order in Passaic County, then it must be filed with the Passaic County Superior Court. If a restraining order has been filed, then any final hearings will be canceled once a civil restraints order is negotiated and agreed to.
The Passaic County Superior Court is located at:
77 Hamilton St
Paterson, NJ 07505
The Court is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Monday-Friday.
It is essential that you have an attorney's assistance to defend you in a restraining order case and/or to negotiate the provisions of a civil restraints order. If you attempt to defend yourself in a restraining order or civil restraints order case, then you can potentially face a violation of any existing protective orders.
Can I Have a Civil Restraints Order Canceled?
Yes, a civil restraints order can be canceled by the court. If the petitioner and defendant later determine that court protection is not needed anymore due to a change in circumstances or needs, then they can request the court to cancel the order. The court will review the current facts and circumstances to ensure that removing the order would be appropriate and safe for the petitioner. The parties cannot cancel a civil restraints order on their own. If the judge does not agree to cancel an existing civil restraints order, then it will stay in place until the parties are able to satisfy the judge. If you have questions, then call us today!
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
If you have questions about civil restraints orders in New Jersey, then make sure that you speak to an experienced attorney. It is essential to know what the Passaic 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 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.