Restraining Orders and Your New Jersey Speech-Language Pathologist License

Restraining orders are usually disruptive and damaging to the restrained defendant, affecting the defendant's housing, transportation, personal property, employment, reputation, and relationships. But licensed speech-language pathologists and other healthcare professionals have additional concerns when facing a restraining order request. Speech-language pathologists deal with vulnerable patient populations. Speech-language pathologists also have power, influence, and authority over their patients and access to patient privacy and records. Professional licensing boards have an obligation to protect patients and the public from unfit and dangerous professional practice. When a speech-language pathologist suffers a restraining order, the pathologist's licensing board will have the power and may have the duty to investigate and suspend the pathologist's license to protect patients and the public. If you are a licensed speech-language pathologist, don't take a restraining order or restraining order petition lightly. It threatens your license, employment, career, and practice. Hire New Jersey professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to both defend your restraining order proceeding and your speech-language pathology license before professional licensing officials. Your speech-language pathology practice is worth it.

New Jersey Restraining Order Procedures

New Jersey long ago enacted its Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 et seq., authorizing restraining orders in certain cases. To obtain a restraining order, the petitioner must first prove a qualifying domestic relationship. Qualifying domestic relationships include not just marriage but also separation and divorce. They also include present or former cohabitation and dating relationships. They also include having or expecting a child together. The petitioner must also prove that the defendant more likely than not committed qualifying domestic violence or sexual assault. Qualifying domestic violence includes assault, sexual assault, harassment, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and certain threats of that violence. The petitioner must also prove that the petitioner needs the court's protection. While the court should not issue a restraining order without the petitioner meeting each of these conditions, New Jersey law makes restraining orders widely available.

Temporary Restraining Orders Procedures

New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act authorizes both temporary and final restraining orders. The procedures differ for each type of order. Temporary orders are typically issued when the petitioner first files the petition with the court. The court typically promptly conducts an emergency hearing to decide whether to issue a temporary order. Only the petitioner appears at that initial hearing, not the defendant, who won't even know yet about the petition. The defendant typically receives notice only after the court issues the temporary restraining order to protect the petitioner against abuse and against retaliation for filing the petition. Police usually serve the temporary restraining order on the defendant to ensure the defendant has notice of the order. The defendant must then comply with the temporary order. Violating the temporary order can lead to arrest and sanctions.

Final Restraining Orders

The defendant's first chance to fight the petition usually comes at the hearing on a final restraining order. New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act requires the court to hold a hearing within ten days of the petition's filing. The court decides at the hearing whether the temporary restraining order should become a final restraining order. Because the court considers witness testimony and documentary evidence at the hearing, the defendant should appear fully prepared with the skillful help of an experienced defense attorney. At the hearing's conclusion, the court either dismisses the petition or issues a final restraining order. If the court issues a final restraining order, the defendant must fully comply on penalty of contempt or other criminal charges.

Speech-Language Pathology Licenses

Speech-language pathology licenses are the subject of New Jersey state statutes and regulations. New Jersey statutes N.J.S.A. 45:3B-1 et seq. and New Jersey regulations at N.J. Admin. Code 13:44C create a state Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Committee. The Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Committee has the state's authority to issue licenses and otherwise regulate speech-language pathology practice in New Jersey. New Jersey's private professional Speech-Language-Hearing Association, of which many of the state's speech-language pathologists are members, confirms, “Speech-language pathologists who work in a hospital, rehabilitation center, skilled nursing facility, home health, private practice and early intervention services are required to obtain and maintain a New Jersey state license.” The applicable New Jersey statutes and regulations make clear that the state's Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Committee exists to protect patient and public safety and welfare. The Committee also ensures that speech-language pathologists in the state comply with other state laws. Speech-language pathologists must not only obtain a license by meeting the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Committee's standards but must also renew their licenses every two years. New Jersey statutes and regulations further authorize the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Committee, though the state's Director of Consumer Affairs, to investigate and prosecute speech-language pathologists when their conduct shows unfitness for practice. N.J.S.A. 45:3B-7 also specifically authorizes the Speech-Language Pathology Committee to establish standards of professional conduct for speech-language pathologists ensuring their safety and fitness.

Restraining Orders Affect Speech-Language Pathology Licenses

New Jersey's Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Committee and the state's Director of Consumer Affairs who enforces its licensing standards, know that restraining orders are only issued on evidence of domestic violence or related threats. Domestic violence is by definition only between spouses or others in qualifying domestic relationships. Yet licensing officials don't just assume that domestic violence will remain domestic in nature. Licensing officials may instead conclude that speech-language pathologists who commit domestic violence could be risks for other violent behavior outside of the domestic relationship, even presenting safety and abuse risks to patients. That's why licensing officials will investigate the circumstances of a licensed speech-pathologist's restraining order to see whether the officials should restrict, suspend, or even revoke the license. State law and regulations may require you to report a restraining order to your speech-language pathology board, depending on the circumstances. And when you renew your speech-language pathology license within the next two years, as New Jersey law requires, you may have to disclose the restraining order on your renewal application. Don't expect to hide a restraining order from license officials. Concealing information officials have requested you disclose is in itself a licensing violation. Your employer may also limit, suspend, or terminate your speech-language pathology practice based on a restraining order, to protect patients and avoid civil liability. In short, a restraining order could cripple your speech-language pathology practice. Aggressively address and diminish, rather than underestimate and ignore, the risks.

Premier Defense Attorney Representation

Your first and best move in response to a temporary restraining order or petition should be to retain skilled and experienced defense attorney representation. Restraining order procedures give your retained defense attorney substantial opportunities to defeat false allegations and unsupported petitions. Let your retained defense attorney call witnesses for the hearing, cross-examine the other side's witnesses, and present other exonerating and mitigating evidence. Your defense attorney can also work to ensure that the hearing resolves all allegations in ways that will not affect your speech-language pathology license. Retain New Jersey professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm for your aggressive and effective defense of restraining orders and related professional license proceedings. Call 888-535-3686 for a consultation now or use the online service.

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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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