Being served with a restraining order on the grounds of domestic violence can be an extremely humiliating experience, not to mention disruptive to your life. It is especially difficult when the order bars you from having contact with someone you love or denies you access to your children. And yet, at least at the beginning of the process, it's possible for a spouse or partner to get you temporarily banned from contact based solely on their testimony. If you find yourself in this situation and have received a temporary restraining order (TRO) in Bayonne, NJ, it is important to act quickly to prepare your defense before it becomes finalized as a final restraining order (FRO) in Hudson County Superior Court. Once it becomes an FRO, your contact with the individual may be indefinitely restricted. This could affect where you work and live, and it even strips you of your custody/visitation rights.
Given the potential consequences, your best hope of a favorable outcome is to hire an attorney with specific experience with restraining order cases in New Jersey courts. The Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team has helped many defendants with complex restraining order cases throughout New Jersey, including Bayonne. To schedule a consultation, please call our offices at 888-535-3686 or reach out to us online.
Who Can File a Restraining Order Against Me in Bayonne, New Jersey?
In New Jersey, restraining orders are designated to provide protection and relief for alleged victims of domestic violence from their abusers, specifically with whom they have (or had) a domestic relationship. This means someone can request a restraining order against you if they are/were:
- A person to whom you are (or were) married
- An individual you are dating or have dated previously
- A person with whom you share or have shared a residence
- Someone with whom you have a child in common
How Restraining Orders in Bayonne Are Processed
New Jersey follows a standard procedure for obtaining a restraining order in cases of alleged abuse.
Obtaining a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
The alleged victim (plaintiff) in Bayonne will first file a request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against you to the Family Division Office at Hudson County Superior Court in Jersey City. The judge will hold a preliminary hearing with your accuser to determine whether a temporary restraining order (TRO) is warranted based on the plaintiff's testimony. This is an ex parte ("one party") hearing, meaning it involves only the accuser's testimony, and you are not involved. If the judge grants the order, it takes effect immediately, and a hearing is scheduled within ten days to determine if a final restraining order (FRO) should be issued.
Serving You With the TRO
After issuing the TRO, law enforcement will serve you the order directly. The TRO will provide details about the time and location of the final hearing. If you have firearms, the police may require you to surrender them. (They will be returned if no final restraining order is issued.) If you share a residence with the victim, you may be required to leave during the TRO, regardless of lease or rent obligations. The TRO can also grant temporary custody of children to the co-parent and require financial support from you.
Final Restraining Order (FRO) Hearing
If you are served with a TRO in Bayonne, your final restraining order hearing will take place at:
Hudson County Superior Court
William J. Brennan, Jr. Courthouse
583 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, New Jersey 07306
The FRO hearing is overseen by a judge who handles cases from the Family Division. It is crucial to attend this hearing (preferably with an attorney), as failure to do so may result in a summary decision for the plaintiff. Both parties can present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and make statements. This hearing is more involved than the TRO hearing, but the plaintiff bears the burden of proving that you pose a continuing threat to their safety.
Before the judge issues a final restraining order, the following conditions must be verified:
- You and the plaintiff have (or had) a qualifying domestic relationship.
- You committed an act of domestic violence against the victim (e.g., assault, harassment, threats, false imprisonment).
- The restraining order is necessary to prevent further violence.
If the judge issues the FRO, it will typically be more detailed than the TRO. It may include stipulations like:
- Prohibiting you from contacting the plaintiff indefinitely
- Awarding temporary custody of the children to the plaintiff
- Allocating financial responsibilities for rent, mortgage, insurance, child support, and other monetary obligations
- Prohibiting you from owning, buying, or possessing firearms
- Mandating you to undergo therapy, counseling, or anger management courses.
Note that in New Jersey, a final restraining order is permanent, having no expiration date. It can only be lifted if the Hudson County Superior Court later revokes the FRO for good cause, usually at the request of the plaintiff.
Consequences of Violating a Restraining Order
A restraining order is not a criminal charge but a civil order that can remain effective irrespective of any criminal charges against you. However, violating a restraining order in New Jersey is a criminal offense that could lead to penalties of a fine and possible jail time for contempt of court. In addition, any violation may negatively impact the possibility of lifting the FRO at a later date.
Legal Defense Against Restraining Orders in Bayonne, NJ
When you are served with a TRO, the primary goal should be to contest the order at the final hearing. If a final restraining order (FRO) is issued, it remains in effect indefinitely, and it can limit where you live and work and have long-term implications regarding your parental rights. The only way to avoid these types of consequences is by convincing the judge to let the TRO expire--, and this is best accomplished with the help of a seasoned defense attorney.
At the Lento Law Firm, the experienced Criminal Defense Team has a proven track record of effectively helping defendants facing unjust restraining orders in Bayonne, NJ, and across the state. We will work to make sure your side is heard and that your rights are protected. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or reach out using our online form.