Restraining Order Extensions

Seeking a restraining order in New Jersey is a process that can involve many steps. In some cases, parties involved may ask for restraining order extensions.

A restraining order extension in New Jersey extends temporary protections before a court decides whether a more permanent solution is necessary.

An extension usually won't last very long. It mainly serves to ensure all parties have enough time to prepare for a restraining order hearing.

Nevertheless, understanding these nuances is essential if someone is seeking a restraining order against you in New Jersey. Having legal assistance is also vital in these circumstances.

The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team can help with everything from preparing for a hearing to explaining the terms of a restraining order extension. Find out more about what we can do for you by calling us today at 888-535-3686or contacting us online.

What Is the Purpose of a Restraining Order in New Jersey?

A restraining order can serve many purposes. The following are common functions of a restraining order:

  • Preventing a defendant from contacting a plaintiff in any way
  • Prohibiting a defendant from visiting a plaintiff at home or work
  • If the plaintiff and defendant have children together, a restraining order may prevent the defendant from contacting them
  • Prohibiting a defendant from engaging in certain behaviors, such as harassment or stalking
  • Prohibiting a defendant from owning weapons

Judges may add various conditions and terms to restraining orders depending on the circumstances. For example, they may use a restraining order to dictate child custody arrangements and child support requirements.

Not all restraining orders are the same in New Jersey. The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team can help you understand the specific provisions of your restraining order if someone obtains one against you.

Getting a Restraining Order in New Jersey

Understanding how someone requests a restraining order in New Jersey is key to understanding how they may get an extension. The process involves these steps:

  • Applying for a Temporary Restraining Order: Someone must first get a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) before they can obtain a Final Restraining Order (FRO). They can do so by visiting the Superior Court courthouse of the county in which they permanently or currently reside. After completing the application, they will appear in a hearing during which a judge will decide whether to grant a TRO. Usually, judges do grant TROs after such hearings, even when evidence of domestic violence or similar behavior is minimal. Judges know alleged victims may need time to gather evidence showing why they need restraining orders.
  • Arranging a Hearing: The judge only hears one side of the story during the initial TRO hearing. After granting a TRO, they will provide law enforcement with a copy and set a date for a FRO hearing. The police will provide the other party with a copy of the TRO and information about the FRO hearing, where they'll be able to present their case. The FRO hearing is usually ten days from the TRO hearing.
  • Attending the FRO Hearing: The person seeking an FRO must attend the FRO hearing. However, the court is highly likely to grant a FRO if the other party doesn't participate. Either party can ask the judge to reschedule the hearing if necessary, although the court may not always grant such requests. The FRO hearing allows both parties to state their cases. The judge will then decide whether to grant a FRO.

Having legal representation is helpful if you're attending an FRO hearing because someone has accused you of domestic violence or similar acts. The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team is available to offer the assistance you need in these circumstances.

Who Can Seek a Restraining Order in New Jersey?

Various parties can obtain TROs in New Jersey. They include:

  • Alleged Domestic Violence Victims: Under New Jersey law, a domestic violence victim must first be 18 years of age or older, or they must be an emancipated minor. Technically, minors who aren't emancipated aren't domestic violence victims in New Jersey. Instead, they may be victims of criminal acts. A domestic violence victim is someone who has experienced some form of domestic violence at the hands of a current spouse, former spouse, current or former household member, someone with whom they've had a dating relationship or someone with whom they expect to have children due to either party's pregnancy. If a victim has had a child with their alleged abuser, expects to due to pregnancy, or has been the victim of domestic violence at the hands of a current or former dating partner, they may qualify as a victim regardless of age.
  • Alleged Sexual Misconduct Victims: Sexual misconduct is separate from domestic violence in New Jersey. An alleged sexual misconduct victim may also seek a restraining order.
  • Alleged Stalking Victims: Stalking is another behavior that may give someone a reason to seek a restraining order. In the digital age, stalking doesn't necessarily have to occur in person. Stalking someone via text or other such means may technically qualify as stalking in general.

Certain individuals (such as household members) may also petition a court for an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO). A court may grant an ERPO if there is reason to believe an alleged abuser poses an immediate risk to others' safety. Usually, when a court grants an ERPO, law enforcement will take measures like removing firearms from an alleged abuser's possession.

Temporary Restraining Order Extensions in New Jersey

While there are exceptions in unique circumstances, a FRO hearing will usually end in one of the following ways:

  • The judge dismisses the TRO
  • The judge grants a FRO
  • The judge extends a TRO

A judge may grant an extension when a party (usually the one requesting a FRO) requests a new hearing date. They may be unable to attend the hearing due to circumstances out of their control. Or, they might need additional time to gather evidence as they build their case.

The terms of the TRO will remain in place during an extension. Abiding by them is critical if someone is seeking a FRO against you.

The Lento Law Firm Team can help you understand a TRO's terms. We'll help you avoid errors that could result in accidental violation of a TRO.

What Does a Final Restraining Order Hearing Involve?

The exact details of a FRO hearing will vary from one case to another. Generally, the process involves these steps:

  • A basic information-gathering stage in which a staffer explains each party's rights and determines what outcome the plaintiff is requesting
  • Completing paperwork - a step that's sometimes necessary when the plaintiff is also seeking financial support (such as child support)
  • Testimony from both sides, along with witnesses and anyone else the court believes should testify
  • Presentation of evidence from both sides

The process may involve oral arguments from each party's lawyers. If you're worried about presenting a strong case during a FRO hearing, rest assured that knowledgeable members of the Lento Law Firm Team are prepared to speak on your behalf.

Preparing for a Final Restraining Order Hearing in NJ

You only have ten days to prepare for a FRO hearing. Taking the right steps during that time can significantly influence your hearing's outcome.

Recommendations to keep in mind as you prepare include:

  • Do not contact the plaintiff or otherwise violate the orders of a TRO while you prepare
  • Gather any evidence that may support your case, refute the plaintiff's, or both
  • Get in touch with witnesses whose testimony can help you show why a FRO isn't warranted
  • Be prepared to dress professionally for court, even if the hearing takes place over Zoom or another such platform (which is sometimes the case)
  • Clear your entire schedule for the day of the hearing, even if it's not supposed to last very long

You will need to let the court know if you wish to present any evidence or witnesses during a hearing. The court needs to review your plans before approving or denying them.

Gathering evidence isn't a task you need to complete on your own. In addition, contacting witnesses yourself might not be wise, as discussing your case with anyone can have unintended side effects if you say the wrong thing.

We strongly recommend allowing legal professionals to assist you with these tasks. The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team can help you thoroughly prepare for your FRO hearing.

How Long Is a Temporary Restraining Order Extension in NJ?

It is up to a judge whether to grant a restraining order extension. The judge will consider the specific details of a case to determine if an extension is warranted. They will also exercise their discretion to determine how long the extension should last.

A TRO usually only lasts a maximum of 10 days in New Jersey. A TRO extension will typically have a similar length.

There may be exceptions. If a judge grants a TRO extension, make sure you thoroughly understand how long it will last. You must also know the date of your new hearing.

How Many Temporary Restraining Order Extensions Will a Judge Grant?

The judge has full discretion over whether to grant a TRO extension. They can decide how many extensions to grant.

A judge will usually grant only one or two extensions. However, a judge might make an exception if the reason for requesting multiple extensions is valid.

That's unlikely to happen in most cases. A TRO affects the rights of someone who hasn't had the opportunity to present their case. Allowing for multiple or indefinite extensions could violate a person's rights.

Extending a Temporary Restraining Order on the Defendant's Behalf in New Jersey

While the person seeking a restraining order may be more likely to request an extension, there are instances in which an extension might benefit the party against whom they're seeking an FRO.

For example, maybe you weren't properly served with information about the TRO and subsequent hearing. Thus, you don't have time to prepare, and may even be unable to attend. A judge may grant an extension in such cases.

Strongly consider working with a lawyer if you have any reason to ask for an extension when someone is trying to get a restraining order against you. The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team can help you show a judge why an extension is warranted.

Extending a Final Restraining Order in New Jersey

A FRO is usually permanent in New Jersey. There's no need to extend a FRO because it doesn't have an expiration date. However, either party can petition the court to modify or lift a FRO.

Appealing a Final Restraining Order

Both a TRO and a FRO take effect as soon as the court releases them. If a judge releases a FRO against you, you have 45 days to appeal the decision.

A successful appeal can allow for a reversal of the judge's decision to impose a FRO. To appeal a FRO, you'll have to show the judge or court made certain errors during the hearing. Arguments you might present include:

  • The judge applied the law incorrectly
  • The judge misinterpreted the facts of the case
  • The judge allowed the other party to enter evidence they shouldn't have been allowed to enter
  • The judge didn't allow you to enter evidence that may have strengthened your case
  • When explaining the reason for granting a FRO, the judge failed to thoroughly or correctly justify their decision

The right appeal strategy will depend on the specifics of your case. The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team can review your case and develop a strategy tailored to your needs.

New Jersey Restraining Order Defense Lawyers Can Help

A FRO can impact many areas of your life, including:

  • Current and future employment
  • Personal relationships
  • Finances
  • Your ability to see your children

You need a proper legal defense when someone is seeking a FRO against you in New Jersey. Knowledgeable attorneys with the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team can offer exactly that. We'll also answer any questions about your case, potentially helping to minimize your stress. Get started today by contacting us online or calling us at 888-535-3686.

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today

When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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