Stabbing and Restraining Orders: What You Need To Know

The state of New Jersey takes matters of domestic abuse, including those that involve incidents of stabbing, very seriously. The law provides protection for an abuse victim so they do not suffer from continued violence. One of the protections New Jersey offers to a domestic abuse victim is a restraining order. This is a court order mandating that an abuser has to stay away from their victim. Law enforcement will arrest an abuser if they do not comply with the order. And, even if an abuser obeys the order, there are repercussions that affect nearly every aspect of life. A restraining order can impact the home where someone lives, their ability to see their children, and the opportunity to have firearms. A restraining order can also cause family, friends, and neighbors to ostracize the recipient. Since the courts do not fool around when it comes to a restraining order, it is best to consult with an attorney if you are, or you believe you will be, the subject of a restraining order in a domestic violence case. The Lento Law Firm and its Criminal Defense Team are all set to help, no matter where you are in New Jersey. The firm can help if you are in Glen Ridge, Rumson, Saddle River, Short Hills, the beach towns, or any other area of the state. Tell us about your case by calling 888-535-3686 or reach out to us by completing this online form

If you are facing a possible restraining order in New Jersey, you should have an experienced attorney to guide you through the legal system. Whether rightfully or wrongfully accused, you have rights that must be observed, and you deserve justice. The Lento Law Firm and its Criminal Defense Team are the best choice when it comes to legal representation for matters of domestic abuse and restraining orders. An attorney from the Lento Law Firm is ready to listen to your explanation about what happened and will answer all of your questions. The attorney will explain how the legal process for restraining orders works and will seek the best possible outcome for you. It is never a good idea to deal with the court system on your own. There is too much at risk. You could even lose your job or a professional license if a restraining order is handed down against you.  

Stabbing as Domestic Violence in New Jersey 

Domestic abuse cases in New Jersey bring the state's Code of Criminal Justice into play, along with the related Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. Under the PDVA, domestic violence is not one specific offense. Rather, domestic violence encompasses certain offenses, which include, but are not limited to: 

  • Assault; 
  • Burglary; 
  • Criminal coercion; 
  • Criminal mischief; 
  • Criminal restraint; 
  • Criminal sexual contact; 
  • Criminal trespass; 
  • Cyber-harassment; 
  • False imprisonment; 
  • Harassment; 
  • Homicide; 
  • Kidnapping; 
  • Lewdness; 
  • Sexual assault; 
  • Stalking; and  
  • Terroristic threats. 

To be considered domestic violence, one of the statutorily listed acts must be perpetrated by either an adult or an emancipated minor. In addition, the act must be inflicted upon someone who falls within the PDVA's protections. There are three groups that are covered under the PDVA. The statute protects anyone: 

  • 18 years of age or older, or an emancipated minor who has endured domestic abuse by a spouse, ex-spouse, or any other individual who is a current or prior member of the household; 
  • Regardless of age, who has suffered from domestic violence perpetrated by an individual with whom they have a child or with whom they will have a child if one of the parties is pregnant and 
  • Who has faced domestic abuse by an individual with whom they have, or had, a romantic relationship. 

As listed above, there are a number of predicate, or underlying acts, that constitute domestic violence in New Jersey when committed against a protected person. Stabbing is not listed, but that does not mean that it falls outside of the realm of domestic violence. If you have been accused of stabbing or attempting to stab someone during a domestic violence incident, that act falls under the heading of assault. In New Jersey, the offense of assault is an umbrella term that covers several illegal activities. Under the law, assault is either simple or aggravated. The state defines simple assault as an attempt to cause, or purposely, knowingly, or recklessly causing, bodily injury to another person. New Jersey also defines simple assault as negligently causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon. In addition, the law says simple assault occurs when someone is being physically menacing and attempting to put a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. 

Aggravated assault encompasses a bigger range of unlawful acts. New Jersey defines aggravated assault as attempting to cause serious bodily injury to another person, purposely or knowingly causing injury, or recklessly causing injury under circumstances demonstrating an extreme indifference to the value of human life. State law also holds that an aggravated assault takes place when someone attempts to cause, or purposely or knowingly causes, bodily injury to an individual with a deadly weapon or recklessly causes bodily injury to someone with a deadly weapon. 

Stabbing, or trying to stab, a protected person during an incident of domestic abuse is an aggravated assault in New Jersey. That means that someone who commits an aggravated assault will most likely be arrested and brought up on criminal charges. The individual may also become the subject of a restraining order. 

New Jersey's Restraining Order Process 

Anyone who engages in an aggravated assault by stabbing or attempting to stab someone who is protected by the PDVA may end up facing a restraining order. There are two kinds of restraining orders in New Jersey. The first is a temporary restraining order (TRO), and the second is a final restraining order (FRO). These orders are civil court orders, meaning they are issued by a judge in the civil courts. They are not issued by a judge in the criminal courts. In some situations, a domestic abuse situation may result in prosecutors bringing criminal charges, but a restraining order is a civil matter. However, it is a criminal offense to violate a restraining order. 

New Jersey's Temporary Restraining Orders 

The police often respond to domestic abuse calls, and when they do, New Jersey law requires them to give the victim a special notice about seeking a TRO. This notice informs the victim that they have the right to see a judge to get a TRO to protect themselves from more abuse. The notice also tells the victim that the judge who issues a TRO can include a number of conditions in the order. For example, the TRO can include any of the following terms: 

  • Allowing the abuser to retrieve personal items from the home while accompanied by police; 
  • Directing the abuser to pay temporary child support or support for the victim; 
  • Directing the abuser to repay the victim for any medical treatment or property repairs; 
  • Forbidding the abuser from possessing a firearm or weapon and ordering the seizure of a firearm or weapon; 
  • Giving the victim temporary custody of children; 
  • Temporarily forbidding the abuser from contacting the victim and their relatives; 
  • Temporarily forbidding the abuser from contacting the victim at their place of employment and 
  • Temporarily forbidding the abuser from entering the victim's home. 

The notice that a responding officer gives to the victim also says an individual can obtain a TRO, even if it is a holiday, weekend, or other time when the courts are closed. Judges are on call and ready to issue TROs at all times since New Jersey aims to protect victims of domestic violence. Lastly, the notice tells the victim that they have the right to file a criminal complaint to have charges pressed against their abuser. Note, however, that a victim of domestic abuse can get a TRO even if the police did not respond to the incident. 

A judge issues a TRO when it is necessary, on an emergency basis, to protect the abuse victim's life, health, or well-being. The defendant does not have the opportunity to contest the order since the court issues the TRO on an emergency basis. The defendant's opportunity to challenge the order arises several days later, as discussed below. After a judge issues a TRO, the order is valid throughout the state of New Jersey, not just in the area where the victim lives. The court will serve a TRO on the defendant/attacker and give a copy to the police of the city or town where the victim lives and to any other relevant law enforcement agencies. If you are served with a TRO, the best thing to do is keep your cool, cooperate with law enforcement, and then get in touch with the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team. The team knows what to do in these situations, and they will protect your rights, regardless of whether you are rightfully or wrongfully accused of abuse. 

New Jersey's Final Restraining Orders 

In general, a TRO remains in effect for ten days. When the 10-day period expires, there will be a court hearing to determine whether the victim needs a FRO. The court will let the defendant know about the hearing. The defendant now has the opportunity to present their case and participate in the restraining order process. The victim will also have the chance to present their case to the court. If a criminal case is pending against the defendant, testimony from the FRO hearing is usually not admissible in the criminal case. Do not try to handle the hearing on your own. It is best to have your own attorney with you since the hearing is your chance to challenge the issuance of a FRO. The Lento Law Firm knows all about these hearings and how they work, as well as the entire FRO process. A lawyer from the Lento Law Firm will make sure the court treats you fairly. 

During the FRO hearing, the judge will decide if the victim's accusations against the defendant have been proven by a preponderance of evidence. When making this determination, the judge can review factors such as these: 

  • Any prior history of domestic abuse between the victim and the defendant; 
  • Whether there is immediate danger to person or property; 
  • Both parties' financial situations; 
  • The best interests of the victim and any children; 
  • The existence of an order of protection from another jurisdiction; and 
  • The victim's safety when determining child custody and parenting time. 

If the judge determines that a FRO should be issued against the defendant, the court can grant any relief that is necessary to protect the victim from additional abuse. That includes restricting the defendant's access to firearms. New Jersey law says that any FRO that is handed down must prevent the defendant from buying, owning, possessing, or controlling a firearm while the restraining order is in effect or for two years, whichever time period is greater. The order must also direct the defendant to immediately give any firearms or other weapons to the authorities. 

The judge can also place other instructions in a FRO, such as: 

  • Preventing the defendant from subjecting the victim to any act of domestic abuse; 
  • Giving the victim exclusive possession of a residence; 
  • Providing for parenting time and specifying a place away from the victim, the possible participation of a third party, or a supervised visit with children; 
  • Directing the defendant to pay the victim monetary compensation for losses suffered as a direct result of domestic violence; 
  • Requiring the defendant to receive domestic violence counseling; 
  • Requiring the defendant to undergo a psychiatric evaluation; 
  • Preventing the defendant from entering the victim's home, property, school, or workplace; 
  • Preventing the defendant from contacting the victim; and 
  • Awarding temporary custody of a minor child. 

When a court issues a FRO against someone who has been accused of domestic violence, the repercussions are serious and affect almost all parts of everyday life. In addition, a FRO can have a social impact because family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers may avoid a defendant. In some situations, a FRO can even cause a defendant to lose their job or a professional license. If an individual violates an FRO, law enforcement will knock on their door to arrest them. New Jersey's prosecutors will then bring criminal charges against the defendant for violation of the order. 

If You Are Accused of Domestic Abuse Involving Stabbing in New Jersey, You Need the Lento Law Firm 

Restraining orders, whether temporary or final, are common in New Jersey when someone is accused of committing domestic abuse against a protected person. When a domestic violence incident involves stabbing or an attempted stabbing, a judge will, more often than not, hand down a restraining order against the perpetrator. Both TROs and FROs can impact a defendant's life in many ways, so it is wise to get the advice of a skilled attorney if you find yourself in this situation. The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team have vast experience protecting the rights of individuals who, rightly or wrongly, face restraining orders. The firm and its attorneys will be at your side every step of the way. Knowledge matters, so choose the Lento Law Firm, which can help no matter where you are in New Jersey. From Deptford to Gladstone to Paramus to Princeton, the Lento Law Firm will make sure you receive justice. Get in touch with us by calling 888-535-3686 or make contact with us by filling out this online form

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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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