A New Jersey restraining order is one type of civil order that requires an individual to modify his or her behavior. Typically, this will involve prohibiting a person from interacting with, contacting, or coming within a certain distance of another. Such an order can drastically impact your life.
If you have a final restraining order filed against you, you may be prohibited from seeing your children, you could lose the right to bear arms, and more.
If you have a temporary restraining order out against you, having an experienced attorney in your corner can make the difference. If you're facing a restraining order in Morristown or anywhere in Morris County, contact the Lento Law Firm today.
Morris County Restraining Orders
The following types of restraining orders can be put into place in Morris County.
Sexual Assault Restraining Order
Restraining orders may be issued when an allegation of sexual assault has been made. The New Jersey Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act (SASPA) allows Morris County courts to issue civil protective orders if needed to protect a victim of sexual violence from their assailant. A judge can issue an ex parte TRO under SASPA if it is necessary to protect the safety, health, and well-being of the victim. The judge will typically set the final restraining order hearing within ten days.
A judge can issue a final restraining order (FRO) under SASPA if they find that the victim was subject to non-consensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, lewdness, or an attempt to do so. See N.J.S.A. §§ 2C:14-13, et seq. The judge may also issue a FRO if the defendant stipulated that they did harm the plaintiff. The restraining order will prevent the person accused from contacting the person who made the allegation.
Domestic Violence Restraining Order
A domestic violence restraining order is a civil order that applies to those who are current or former members of a household or family. This includes intimate partners, current or former spouses, those who are or were dating, household members, or those who have a child in common.
Temporary vs. Final Restraining Orders
A temporary restraining order is issued by a judge, often in emergencies. They apply during the interim period, which typically is no more than 10 days, where a hearing is conducted to evaluate the allegations. The subject of the allegations will be served notice of a temporary restraining order, which will contain provisions (conditions). A temporary restraining order can be brought against you even if you are not present. One consequence of a temporary restraining order may be removal from the home.
Morris County Restraining Order Hearing
The Morris County Superior Court handles restraining orders that stem from domestic violence complaints.
The Morris County Superior Court is located at:
56 Washington Street
Morristown, NJ 07960
Restraining orders may be issued regardless of whether there are criminal charges filed. During a restraining order hearing, the parties may present evidence, and witness testimony may be heard. The petitioner must prove their allegations by a preponderance of the evidence. When proven, the court may issue a final (permanent) restraining order.
A judge will only issue the FRO if the plaintiff shows by a preponderance of the evidence that:
- You both have a qualifying domestic relationship.
- You committed an act of domestic violence.
- The restraining order is urgent to prevent further domestic violence against the plaintiff.
If the court doesn't believe the plaintiff is in danger from the defendant or the plaintiff doesn't prove the elements above, the judge will deny the FRO. If the court grants the FRO, the court will order you to pay a $500 fine. The court will also have the police fingerprint and photograph you to place your information into the New Jersey Domestic Violence Registry. This database is public and searchable, so employers can find it.
It is important to note that a restraining order hearing simply focuses on the issue of the civil restraining order. If there are criminal charges associated with the order, these will be handled in the criminal court system.
Do New Jersey Restraining Orders Show up on Background Checks?
Restraining orders are civil violations rather than criminal. As a result, they don't usually show up on standard criminal background checks. A more general background check will show residence history, educational background, military service, credit report, driving record, and criminal history. A criminal background check will show arrests, warrants, convictions, and any incarceration records. A criminal background check will also show whether someone is a sex offender.
However, if a prospective employer conducts a more thorough search of an individual's background, they may find a restraining order through the Domestic Violence Central Registry. Moreover, if the police arrest someone for violating a restraining order, that will show up on a criminal background check. Violating a restraining order is a criminal offense.
Provisions of a Morris County Restraining Order
The courts may use discretion when creating the conditions within a restraining order. They typically prohibit the defendant from contacting or communicating with the petitioner. Each restraining order is different but might include provisions such as:
- Modifying custody, visitation, and/or financial support of minor children,
- Preventing future violence against the plaintiff,
- Prohibiting the defendant from owning or possessing firearms or other weapons,
- Preventing the defendant from entering the plaintiff's home, workplace, or school,
- Removing the defendant from a shared home, and
- Restitution to the plaintiff.
Can Someone Enforce an Out-of-State Restraining Order in New Jersey?
Yes, New Jersey courts can enforce restraining orders from other states. If a plaintiff moves to New Jersey with a restraining order, they have three choices:
- Do nothing. New Jersey courts and law enforcement will enforce the out-of-state order.
- Have the order recognized by the Family Part, Chancery Division of the New Jersey Superior Court in Morris County as a valid order.
- Obtain a Morris County, New Jersey restraining order.
To obtain a New Jersey restraining order, the plaintiff will need to apply with the Morris County court to register the out-of-state order. To do so, the plaintiff must send notice of the application and hearing to the defendant. In many cases, the defendant will fail to appear, and the court will issue the New Jersey restraining order.
Morris County Restraining Order Lawyer
Have you been served with a temporary restraining order in Morris County? Don't waste time; assistance from an experienced lawyer is the key to preserving your rights. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm will effectively represent you in a restraining order hearing and defend against any related criminal charges. Contact the office at (888) 535-3686 for a case evaluation.