A temporary restraining order is a court order intended to keep individuals from having contact until a hearing is conducted where a permanent (final) order may be put in place. In Gloucester County, the Sheriff's Office is responsible for serving the defendant (recipient) with the order. When specified, they will execute a search warrant for weapons and seize them. They also may assist with removal of a recipient's personal property from a location when needed.
The Domestic Violence Act (2C:25-17)
New Jersey's Domestic Violence Act is a group of provisions that seek to protect those victimized by domestic violence. These are threats or acts of violence against members of a household involving someone who is a current or former dating partner. A victim may seek relief by filing for a restraining order through the Superior Court. During hours when the court is closed, local police can contact a judge regarding a temporary order.
Restraining orders may also provide relief for victims of “nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness.” Restraining orders impose a host of possible restrictions that are intended to maintain the safety of a victim.
Hearing Procedure (2C:25-29)
Hearings are to be conducted within 10 days where evidence and testimony are heard. The burden of proof is by the preponderance of the evidence. If the judge implements a final restraining order, the conditions may include:
- A party may be assigned possession of a residence and/or property such as an automobile or pets
- The judge may make decisions regarding minor children (when applicable) such as child custody and parenting time (visitation)
- A party may be ordered to pay monetary compensation for harm caused or required to pay the mortgage, rent, etc.
- The recipient may have to submit to a mental health evaluation or participate in counseling
- The recipient may be restricted from entering a residence, school, place of employment and more
- The recipient may be restricted from contacting the petitioner either directly or through other parties
Final Restraining Orders
A final restraining order does not have an established end date. Any request for modification or termination of a protection order must be made to the court. The recipient is generally prohibited from buying or otherwise acquiring a firearm.
Violations of Orders
Violations of restraining orders in Gloucester County are processed through the Family Court in Woodbury. Failure to adhere to the conditions of an order may result in a conviction for contempt of court, which is typically a fourth-degree offense. The maximum penalties that may be imposed include 18 months of incarceration and a fine of $10,000. If an individual is found to have violated the order for a second time they may be subject to a minimum of 30 days in jail.
Legal Defense for Cases of Domestic Violence or Nonconsensual Sexual Contact
In today's litigious environment members of law enforcement and prosecutors are often overzealous when allegations such as domestic abuse or sexual misconduct are made. These sometimes overworked individuals may overlook the rights of the accused. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has successfully defended these cases throughout New Jersey. For a personal consultation, contact the office at (888) 535-3686.