Have you been served with a restraining order (RO) in Lakewood Township, NJ? If so, then you may be feeling concerned, overwhelmed, and worried about what the future holds. This is unsurprising – restraining orders can severely impact your life. The Lento Law Firm can help – call 888.535.3686 or tell us about your case online to learn more.
What Are Restraining Orders?
Restraining orders are what they sound like; court orders restricting how one person (the alleged abuser) can interact with another person (the alleged victim). They're designed to protect individuals from crimes such as domestic violence or sexual assault. To get a restraining order, the victim must petition the court. They must show that the order is necessary to protect them from harm.
There are two main types of restraining orders you may receive in Lakewood Township: temporary restraining orders (TROs) and final restraining orders (FROs). Temporary restraining orders only last for a short period of time. Usually, this is until there's a court hearing. Final restraining orders are issued if the hearing judge decides that the victim needs long-term protection.
FROs last indefinitely. If you and your partner wish to reconcile, then the petitioner must ask the court to cancel (vacate) or amend the order. You should not have any contact with the petitioner until the FRO is changed or vacated. Otherwise, you risk being in violation of a court order – a criminal offense.
What Should I Do if the Police Serve a Restraining Order on Me?
First, cooperate with everything the police ask of you. While you may be distressed, failing to cooperate will only worsen the situation. If you're required to leave the home, do so immediately.
Next, read over your TRO. Make sure you understand:
- What you can't do; and
- When you must appear in court for the final restraining order hearing.
Then, call an attorney promptly. You need a criminal defense lawyer with experience defending restraining order cases.
What Is a Restraining Order Hearing?
The hearing is your opportunity to defend yourself. It's your chance to show why the final restraining order should not be granted.
At the hearing, both parties – the petitioner and defendant – present their evidence. The judge decides based on the “preponderance of the evidence”, meaning that the allegations are more likely than not to be true or false.
If the judge decides that the petitioner needs protection, they'll grant the FRO. It's effective immediately. If the judge dismisses the petitioner's complaint, the TRO ends.
The hearing usually takes place 10 days after the court issues the temporary restraining order. This may seem like a long time, especially when you're subject to restraining order conditions, but you need to act fast. Contact the Lento Law Firm Team immediately to start building your defense.
Where Will My Restraining Order Take Place in Lakewood Township?
TROs may be issued by a judge from the Lakewood Township Municipal Court on Third Street. However, this court may not handle the FRO hearing. Instead, you may appear before the Family Division of the Ocean County Superior Court. The Ocean County Courthouse is located at 120 Hooper Ave, Toms River, NJ 08753.
It's far better to be early than late. You should arrive in plenty of time to ensure that there's no chance of you missing your hearing.
What Are the Consequences of a Restraining Order?
It's no exaggeration to say that restraining orders can be life-changing.
- If your spouse got a restraining order against you, then you could lose contact with your children.
- You may be prevented from holding certain jobs while there's a restraining order in place.
- A restraining order may affect your professional license in vocations such as medicine.
- Restraining orders may prevent you from owning or possessing a firearm.
- You may be unable to attend major events such as weddings or funerals if the petitioner will also be there.
Restraining Order Violations
TRO or FRO violations are serious. If you violate a restraining order – even accidentally – you could be arrested. You may also face jail time and financial penalties, depending on your existing record.
If you're at all unsure how to comply with a restraining order, even a temporary one, then you must get legal advice urgently.
Can I Appeal a Restraining Order in Lakewood Township?
Yes. Just because the court issues a FRO doesn't mean you're out of options. If there are legal grounds to do so, then you may file an appeal. Legal grounds for filing an appeal include:
- The judge applied the law (or rules of evidence) incorrectly.
- The judge failed to consider all the relevant facts.
- The case findings are incomplete e.g., the judge didn't fully explain their reasoning for issuing the restraining order.
You normally have 45 days to file an appeal. The Lento Law Firm Team can explain if you have grounds to appeal your FRO and how to start the process.
Retain a Restraining Order Attorney in Lakewood Township, NJ
Are you facing a restraining order in Lakewood Township? Don't attempt to handle the matter alone. You need – and deserve – legal advice from an experienced defense attorney who can help you overcome this challenge.
This is where the Lento Law Firm can help. Their Criminal Defense Team represent clients across Ocean County, NJ. We will fully evaluate your case, go over the evidence, and determine how best to defend the allegations. Whether we seek to have the order dismissed or we're fighting to mitigate the outcome, we're on your side every step of the way.