Restraining Orders and Your New Jersey Veterinarian License

Veterinarians work hard to complete their professional education, earn a New Jersey veterinarian's license, and turn that licensure into a rewarding veterinarian's practice. One of the greatest risks to that practice is that the veterinarian would face a domestic violence allegation and restraining order petition. One might think that allegations of domestic violence would have no effect on a veterinarian's practice. After all, veterinarians treat animals, not humans. But veterinarian licensing officials recognize that animals have human owners. They also recognize that a veterinarian's licensure and practice can place the veterinarian in positions of access, authority, and influence over those human owners, including some persons who may be isolated and vulnerable. Veterinarian licensing boards can be just as concerned about a veterinarian's safety and fitness to practice veterinary medicine, based on domestic violence allegations and restraining order petitions, as can other boards regulating physicians, dentists, nurses, and other professionals treating human rather than animal patients. Don't mistakenly assume that as a veterinarian, you face no risk of a restraining order affecting your professional practice. Instead, retain New Jersey professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to help you defend and defeat restraining order requests and defend your veterinarian's license before the board.

Restraining Order Grounds

New Jersey adopted its Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 et seq., many years ago to discourage and prevent domestic violence through protective restraining orders. To get a restraining order under the Act, a petitioner must have a qualifying domestic relationship with the defendant whom the petitioner seeks to restrain. Marriage, separation, divorce, cohabitation, dating, and having or expecting a child together all qualify as domestic relationships. The petitioner must also prove that more likely than not, the defendant committed an assault, sexual assault, harassment, stalking, kidnapping, or false imprisonment, or made threats of that violence. On those proofs, the court may issue a restraining order if the court also determines that the petitioner needs the court's protection. While the first two conditions depend on factual proof, the need for protection involves the court's judgment about risks. Effective presentation and cross-examination skills may convince the court that the allegations lack factual support, while aggressive advocacy may convince the court of no need for protection.

Temporary Restraining Orders Procedures

New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act authorizes temporary restraining orders as soon as the petitioner files with the court, and the court can hold an emergency hearing for the petitioner's testimony. The defendant generally has no notice of that hearing and will not appear, leaving the court with a one-sided view of the evidence supporting the petitioner's allegations. If the court issues the temporary restraining order based on the petitioner's one-sided testimony, police typically serve the order on the defendant. Once the defendant has service of the order, the defendant must comply or face arrest and sanctions. Defendants seldom have much they can do to avoid a temporary order other than to avoid strained domestic relationships and any words or actions that could qualify as domestic violence.

Final Restraining Orders Procedures

A defendant will, though, have a fair chance to oppose the petition when, within the next ten days, the court holds its hearing on whether to issue a final restraining order. The court's hearing on the final restraining order enables the defendant's retained attorney to present the defendant's side of the story, cross-examine the petitioner's witnesses, and advocate with the court that the court has no basis for or need to issue a final restraining order. When the hearing concludes, the court will either revoke the temporary restraining order, leaving the defendant without further obligation, or enter a final restraining order. The defendant must comply with a final restraining order, just like temporary orders, on penalty of contempt or other criminal charges.

New Jersey Laws Governing Veterinarian Licenses

New Jersey's State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners licenses and regulates veterinarians practicing in New Jersey. New Jersey legislative action first established the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners in 1902. Since then, the board has used licensing and regulation to supervise veterinary practice in New Jersey, ensure that veterinarians perform consistent with professional standards, and decide licensing complaints against veterinarians. The Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners not only ensures that new veterinarians have the necessary education for licensure but also reviews license renewal applications required every two years. In those reviews, the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has specific authority to consider a veterinarian's good moral character and to investigate and discipline the licenses of veterinarians who violate practice standards.

Restraining Orders Affect Veterinarian Licenses

The State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners may well learn of any domestic violence charge or restraining order entered against a veterinarian the Board has licensed. The State Board may receive the petitioner's or another person's complaint or report of the alleged domestic violence and the existence of the restraining order. Licensing officials may also learn of the order and allegations through public reports or their private review of databases and other investigations. Veterinarians may also have regulatory duties to self-report domestic violence charges and related restraining orders, depending on the circumstances. And when a veterinarian applies to renew the license within the next two years, the application may require disclosure of the domestic violence matter and restraining order. No matter how licensing officials learn of the issue, once they do learn, their investigation could potentially lead to a determination that the State Board should restrict, suspend, or even revoke the veterinarian's license.

Premier Defense Attorney Available

A petition alleging a defendant veterinarian's domestic violence and seeking a restraining order, or even the court's issuing a temporary restraining order against the veterinarian, need not limit or ruin the veterinarian's practice. The veterinarian's best move is to retain New Jersey professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm for an aggressive and effective defense of the restraining order petition and any related veterinarian license proceedings. A skilled and experienced license defense attorney can put protective procedures to strategic use to prevent an undue restraining order from issuing based on false or exaggerated allegations. Call 888-535-3686 for a consultation now or use the online service.

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