If you're facing a restraining order (RO) in Edison, NJ, then you need to know what happens next. Your first step should be hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney who can advise you on how to proceed and how to defend the allegations. The Lento Law Firm can help – call now at 888.535.3686 to discuss your case with us.
How Restraining Orders Work
Restraining orders restrict or forbid an individual from behaving in certain ways towards another party (the alleged victim). ROs can be temporary (TROs), meaning they only last for a short time, or final (FROs), meaning they're in place indefinitely unless they're amended by the court.
To get a RO in Edison, the victim (known now as the “petitioner”) must first ask or “petition” the court to grant the TRO. They can only do this if they have a qualifying relationship with the accused and they are victims of certain crimes such as sexual assault or domestic violence.
The courts typically grant TROs easily because they'll err on the side of caution. This, unfortunately, means that TROs may be issued against you even if there's very little evidence to support the alleged victim's claims.
Receiving a Restraining Order in Edison
If you're served with a restraining order, here's what to do.
- Cooperate with law enforcement. Hand over firearms and leave your property if required to do so.
- Contact a criminal defense attorney. They will ensure you understand the terms of the order and what happens next.
- Check the date and time of your restraining order hearing. It should be in around 10 days' time.
Ask your attorney if you're unsure what anything means or how to proceed.
The Restraining Order Hearing
Around 10 days after you receive a TRO, you will have a FRO hearing before a judge. This is your first – and only – opportunity to demonstrate why the TRO should not be extended and converted into a FRO.
- The judge will listen to both parties and consider evidence from both sides.
- After considering the evidence, the judge decides whether the petitioner needs a restraining order to keep them safe.
- If the judge grants the order, it's effective immediately. You should not even communicate with the petitioner before leaving the courtroom.
- You're entitled to legal representation. It's highly recommended that you exercise this right and have an attorney on your side.
Location of Restraining Order Hearings in Edison, NJ
Restraining order hearings usually take place in the Superior Court of the county in which the incident allegedly took place. If you're facing a restraining order due to an incident in Edison, then you'll attend the Middlesex Superior Court for your hearing.
You can find the Middlesex County Superior Court at 56 Paterson St, New Brunswick, NJ 08903. The court's normal hours are between 8.30 am – 4.30 pm Monday through Friday.
You should always arrive early. This lets you familiarize yourself with your surroundings and makes the situation a little less stressful. Ask your attorney or contact the court at (732) 645-4300 if you're unsure how to find the courthouse.
Consequences of a Restraining Order
There are legal, civil, and personal consequences associated with temporary and final restraining orders. Here are just some of the most significant repercussions of ROs in Edison.
- Restraining orders can impact custody matters. You may lose contact with your children or be unable to obtain custody.
- You may be unable to return home if you share a residence with the petitioner.
- If you and the petitioner have family or friends in common, you may be unable to attend major events such as weddings. You could lose out in making precious memories with loved ones.
- Certain jobs may be off-limits while there's a RO in place. It may also affect your ability to hold a professional license in disciplines such as law or medicine.
As we can see, ROs can impact every facet of your life. Seek legal advice without delay if you're facing a restraining order.
Restraining Order Violations
A restraining order is an order of the court. It's civil rather than criminal, but it's a serious document, and there are consequences if an individual violates the terms.
- Restraining order violations may be considered a criminal offense known as contempt.
- Contempt carries significant penalties, such as jail time and monetary fines.
- Even if you accidentally violate the order, you may still be charged with contempt.
If both parties wish to reconcile, the restraining order must be amended or canceled (vacated) before they can proceed. Do not have any contact with the petitioner until the order is vacated, or else you may be charged with contempt.
Appealing a Restraining Order in Edison
You can't appeal a temporary restraining order. These are issued ex parte, meaning the judge only hears from one person – the alleged victim – before deciding whether to grant the order. Since they're temporary and only last a very short period, there's no right of appeal.
You can, however, appeal final restraining orders. Typically, you have 45 days from the date of the FRO hearing to request an appeal. Appeals aren't granted automatically, though. You need to show that the judge erred in some way by granting the FRO. This could mean showing that the judge, for example:
- Didn't apply the rules of evidence correctly.
- Didn't apply the relevant law properly.
- Didn't fully consider the pertinent facts of the case.
Your attorney can determine if you have grounds for a FRO appeal, and they'll explain how to proceed if you do.
Contact the Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm
Restraining orders can severely restrict your life. Given how high the stakes can be, you need effective legal representation as soon as possible. And the Lento Law Firm team is standing by, waiting to help.
Highly experienced and passionate about justice, the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team know how to defend restraining orders. They will walk you through the process, ensure you understand your options, and defend your rights at every turn.
Don't take any chances when your future is at stake. If you're facing a restraining order in Edison or the surrounding areas in Middlesex County, contact the Lento Law Firm. Call on 888.535.3686 or leave us a message to arrange a case evaluation.