A restraining order is a type of civil order that mandates one individual modify his or her behavior in relation to another person. Often this order prohibits a person from interacting with, contacting, or coming within a certain distance of that person.
A New Jersey restraining order can seriously impact your life: you may lose the right to bear arms, you may be prohibited from seeing your children. If you have a temporary restraining order out against you, having an experienced lawyer on your side is non-negotiable. If you're facing a restraining order in Jersey City or anywhere in the Hudson County area, contact the Lento Law Firm today.
Hudson County Restraining Orders
The following types of restraining orders can be put into place in Hudson County.
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 current or former intimate partners, current or former spouses, dating or formerly dating couples, household members, or those who have a child in common.
Sexual Assault Restraining Order
Restraining orders also may be issued when an allegation of sexual assault has been made. In Hudson County, a judge can issue a civil protective order under the New Jersey Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act (SASPA) to protect a victim of sexual violence from their alleged assaulter. A judge can issue a temporary order under SASPA if they believe it's urgent and necessary to protect the safety and well-being of a victim. The judge must also believe that the plaintiff was the victim of non-consensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, lewdness, or an attempt to do so by the defendant. The court will typically hold a hearing for a final restraining order within ten days. The restraining order will prevent the person accused from contacting the person who made the allegation.
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, at which time 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 your home. Temporary restraining orders generally remain in place until the hearing for the final restraining order. If the plaintiff doesn't show up for the hearing, the TRO will expire.
Hudson County Restraining Order Hearings
Restraining orders are handled by Family Court. Hudson County Family Court is located at:
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. A qualifying domestic relationship means you are or were intimate partners, married, dating, household members, or have a child together.
- You committed an act of domestic violence, which can include assault, sexual assault, harassment, kidnapping, stalking, cyber harassment, or burglary.
- The restraining order is urgently needed to protect the defendant from further domestic violence.
If the plaintiff can't prove these three elements, the court will not issue the final FRO. If the court grants the FRO, the police will photograph and fingerprint you to place your information in the New Jersey Domestic Violence Registry. The court will also fine you $500. While the registry generally doesn't appear in most standard criminal background checks, it will appear in more thorough employment or security clearance background investigations.
Provisions of a Hudson County Restraining Order
Hudson County courts may use their 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 also include provisions such as:
- Protection from future violence,
- Modifying custody, visitation, or financial support of minor children,
- Financial support for children or a spouse, mortgages, rent, or other financial obligations,
- Prohibiting the defendant from going near the plaintiff's home, workplace, or school,
- Prohibiting the defendant from owning or possessing firearms or other weapons,
- Ordering the defendant to attend counseling or therapy,
- Removing the defendant from a shared home, and
- Restitution paid to the plaintiff.
For SASPA restraining orders, the order can:
- Prevent future acts of sexual violence,
- Prevent stalking,
- Prevent the defendant from contacting the plaintiff,
- Prevent online or in-person harassment,
- Prevent the defendant from entering places where the plaintiff might be, like work, school, or home.
A final restraining order is a permanent court order that doesn't expire. It will remain in place until one of the parties asks the court to remove or modify the order. When a judge issues a final restraining order, the police will place your photo, information, and fingerprints in the New Jersey Domestic Violence Registry. This database is public and searchable.
Hudson County Restraining Orders are Enforceable in Other States
In some cases, the plaintiff may enforce a restraining order outside of New Jersey. Federal law provides that restraining orders in one state will have the full faith and credit of the court of another state, as long as:
- A New Jersey court had jurisdiction over both parties when it issued the restraining order, and
- The defendant had reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard at the hearing.
The plaintiff does not have to register the restraining order in another state to enforce it.
Hudson County Restraining Order Representation
Have you been served with a temporary restraining order in Hudson County? It is important to promptly seek assistance from an experienced advocate. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm will represent you in a restraining order hearing and defend any related criminal charges. Contact the office at (888) 535-3686 for a case evaluation.