If you're a New Jersey resident currently dealing with the protective order process, it's important to find out about the different types of protective orders that are available. There are several types of protective orders out there, and they are similar in some ways and different in other ways.
A traditional restraining order is a protective order sought by someone who is an alleged victim of abuse or assault, but there is another type of protective order that people sometimes seek that works better for their situations. This is called a “civil restraints order.”
A civil restraints order is an order that takes the entire protection order process out of the courtroom and places it at a negotiating table. With a civil restraints order, the petitioner, the defendant, and their legal counsel come to an agreement on what types of protections the order should provide.
While the details of a traditional restraining order are decided in a courtroom, civil restraints orders are decided outside of the courtroom. With a traditional restraining order, the judge is the one who makes a decision regarding whether or not to grant a protective order. With a civil restraints order, both parties weigh in on what makes sense for their specific situation.
If you are dealing with a restraining order situation in your life, you need to work with an experienced attorney who can help walk you through the process.
What Is a Civil Restraining Order?
A civil restraining order can be described as a type of restraining order contract. When a traditional restraining order is brought before a court, the judge manages and handles the negotiations.
When a civil restraints order is brought before a judge, the judge does not play a role in supervising or controlling the discussions. Their only role is to make sure that the order abides by the rule of law. Once the judge decides that the civil restraining order checks all the boxes, the judge okays it and enters it into the record. The judge's role, in this case, is simply to make sure that the order provides measures that are appropriate, and that the agreement is complete.
In a traditional restraining order case, the judge is the one that makes the decision as to whether or not a protection order will be issued. The petitioner will go before the judge and provide testimony that the defendant committed the acts that they allege. The petitioner may bring witnesses or other sorts of evidence as proof.
At the end of that testimony, the judge will decide whether or not to issue the order. If an order is issued, the judge will issue a temporary restraining order. A short time later, the judge will issue a final restraining order. Final restraining orders are usually issued within ten days of the temporary restraining order. When someone goes through the civil restraints process, this does not happen.
Traditional restraining orders and civil restraints orders are similar in that they both provide protections to the petitioner against unwanted abuse or assault. The key difference between them is how they are enforced.
If someone violates a traditional restraining order, they've committed a crime. It's literally a criminal act to violate a restraining order. If someone violates a civil restraints order, it's not considered a criminal act but instead a “breach of contract.” Remedies by the court will most likely be civil in nature.
Provisions of a Salem County Civil Restraints Order
There are several similarities between traditional restraining orders and civil restraints orders. Both types of orders provide the following:
- No contact orders
- Orders that allow limited contact in cases where there are issues of child custody
- Orders that allow limited contact through email or text message
- Orders against any sort of assaultive conduct
- Orders against harassment
- Orders against any sort of abusive conduct
When the two parties meet at a civil restraints order meeting, they will decide what measures are necessary in order for them to reach an agreement. They will work out the terms of what will be accepted and what will not.
If you are attempting to meet for a civil restraints order hearing, it's extremely important that you do so via an attorney. You can't reach out to a petitioner directly because by doing so, you will violate any restraining order. All communications need to go through an attorney to protect all parties involved.
When Can a Civil Restraints Order Be Entered?
Many civil restraints orders are entered during divorces or domestic court proceedings where restraining orders have been sought. If both parties are interested in going the civil restraints order route, they can do so only after a temporary restraining order has been issued by the court.
When a petitioner seeks a temporary restraining order, they need to file a detailed petition before going in front of the court. They need to attend a hearing with the judge, who will make a determination about whether immediate protection is needed after hearing all of the evidence. If the judge decides that protection is needed, they will issue a temporary restraining order, and a date for the final order will be set. The hearing for the final order usually takes place 10 days after the temporary restraining order has been issued.
The most important thing to note is that a civil restraints order can only happen once a temporary restraining order has been filed but before a final restraining order has been filed. If the final restraining order hearing has already happened, the parties will not be able to file for a civil restraints order.
Advantages of a Civil Restraining Order Over a Traditional Restraining Order
One big benefit to going the civil restraints order route is that both the petitioner and the defendant can benefit from the proceedings.
The benefits for the petitioner include the following:
- They are going to be guaranteed a protective order, something that isn't guaranteed if they go for a traditional restraining order
- They will be able to avoid the extreme stress of going through a final restraining order hearing
- They will be able to have a say in which terms they find acceptable and agreeable to them
There are several reasons that a defendant would also want to go the civil restraints order route:
- They will be able to negotiate the terms
- They'll also be able to avoid having to go through the stress of awaiting a final restraining order hearing
- They will have the ability to avoid the myriad employment and professional issues that come with having a restraining order on their record
A civil restraints order hearing is a great way for both parties to get exactly what they want out of a restraining order case. If they can both come to an agreement and the judge approves it, they'll be set. The key thing to remember is that the judge has to approve it before it is entered into the record. If the judge doesn't approve it, the parties involved won't get the order.
What If Someone Violates a Civil Restraints Order?
If someone violates a civil restraints order, the penalties will be different than those of someone who violates a traditional restraining order. If someone violates a traditional restraining order, they are literally breaking the law. Doing so is committing a criminal act that can land you in jail for up to 180 days and cost you as much as a $1,000 fine.
If you violate a civil restraints order, the penalties will not be criminal but instead civil in nature. It's viewed as a “breach of contract” versus a committing criminal act. However, if in the process of violating a civil restraints order you do commit a crime, you could face criminal charges.
Where Can I File a Civil Restraining Order in Salem County?
If you've already filed for a temporary restraining order in Salem County Superior Court, you'll need to file the civil restraints order in the same court building. Temporary restraining orders and civil restraints orders must be filed in the same building.
The address of the Salem Superior Court is as follows:
Salem Superior Court
92 Market Street
Salem, NY 08079
The court is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Can I Have a Civil Restraints Order Canceled?
Yes, a civil restraints order can be canceled. Sometimes both parties decide that they no longer need the agreement. However, even if both parties agree to cancel the agreement, that decision alone will not cancel it. The parties need to go before a judge and request that the order be canceled. If the judge determines that cancellation would not be appropriate, the order will stay in place. The only way that a civil restraints order can be canceled is if the judge decides to do so.
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
If you're dealing with restraining orders in New Jersey and you want to find out more about civil restraints orders, you need an experienced attorney who can guide you along the way.
Joseph Lento and the experienced team at the Lento Law Firm know exactly what the Salem Superior Court is looking for when deciding whether or not to grant civil restraints orders. They can help you walk through the steps needed so that everyone can move forward with their lives.
Reach out to the Lento Law Firm for more information at 888-356-3686, or contact us online.