In New Jersey, there are a few different types of orders that can protect people from others. Different types of orders are available for different situations. A restraining order is a popular type of order that alleged victims get from the court. Another type of order that offers court protection is a civil restraints order, which is for people who want to take a more diplomatic approach.
If parties seek a civil restraints order, then the case is given a chance to settle things outside of court in a negotiation. This differs from a restraining order where the judge controls the outcome and makes a determination on what he or she believes happened between the parties. A civil restraints order offers those involved the opportunity to work things out and avoid the need for the judge to make all the necessary determinations. It is essential that you have an experienced attorney's help in any negotiations. If you are facing a restraining order petition, then make sure that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.
What Is a Civil Restraints Order?
A civil restraints order is a type of protective court order that is agreed upon in a similar way to a contract. The judge's role in a civil restraints order is limited. He or she is not involved in the negotiation and does not dictate terms. The judge's main role involves ensuring that the final agreement of the parties is complete and reasonable. If the civil restraints order that the petitioner and defendant agree to appears reasonable and complete, then the judge will accept it for entry.
A judge wears a few different hats when presiding over a restraining order case. In a restraining order case, the judge acts as both a finder of fact and determiner of what protection is warranted. A judge will listen to testimony and review the evidence presented by both the petitioner and defendant in a court hearing to determine if a restraining order is needed. In a civil restraints order situation, the parties take the case out of the courtroom and negotiate agreeable protection terms. Doing this takes the judge mostly out of the equation and stops any restraining order final hearings.
Restraining orders and civil restraints are similar in offering protective orders that are enforced by the court, but they are enforced in different ways. A restraining order violation typically results in criminal prosecution, while a civil restraints order violation typically results in civil enforcement, such as a fine. If there is a restraining order in place, then it is important to know that any type of violation is viewed as a criminal offense, even if the alleged act was not criminal in nature. Civil restraints orders avoid law enforcement involvement unless there is a crime alleged against the defendant that is restrained by the order.
Provisions of a Sussex County Civil Restraints Order
Both restraining orders and civil restraints orders in Sussex County offer protective orders to an alleged victim, which includes:
- A prohibition against contact between the parties
- A limitation on contact specifically through text message or email
- A limitation on contact related to child custody
- A prohibition against assaultive or abusive conduct by the defendant
- A prohibition against harassing conduct by the defendant
Other provisions can be included if necessary. Make sure that you have an attorney represent you to handle any negotiations and the drafting of a civil restraints order. If you try to do this on your own, then you may violate any existing no-contact orders.
When Can A Civil Restraints Order Be Entered?
Civil restraints orders are most commonly entered during domestic court proceedings such as divorce or restraining orders. A civil restraints order can be negotiated and entered after a temporary restraining order (TRO) has been authorized by the court but before any final orders have been made.
For someone to get a restraining order, he or she must submit a petition which details the relationship of the parties and what allegedly took place between them. After the petition is filed, the court will have the petitioner participate in a hearing to determine if immediate protection is needed. If the judge finds that immediate protection is necessary, then a temporary restraining order will be issued. A hearing will also be set within ten days for the judge to decide whether the temporary order will become a final and permanent order.
The time before a final restraining order hearing will allow the parties to negotiate a civil restraints order. If the parties are successful in their negotiations and can come to an agreement, they can avoid a final hearing. Generally, the parties cannot negotiate a civil restraints order until a temporary restraining order has been issued.
Advantages of a Civil Restraints Order Over a Restraining Order
The protection that is offered by civil restraints orders and restraining orders is similar in many ways. But the way that the protection is obtained and the enforcement of protections differ between the protective orders. There are several advantages that a petitioner can find when choosing to negotiate a civil restraints order, including:
- Guaranteed protective orders from the court
- Avoiding any final restraining order hearings
- The ability to negotiate and dictate protection terms
A petitioner can find many other reasons to pursue a civil restraints order instead of a restraining order. There are several advantages that a defendant can find when choosing to negotiate a civil restraints order, including:
- The ability to have some say in the outcome
- Avoiding any final restraining order hearings
- Avoiding the authorization of a restraining order
- Avoiding potential arrest for any alleged violations
- Avoiding potential professional licensing issues
- Avoiding potential employment issues
Once the civil restraints order negotiations begin, the court will pause any further restraining order hearings until the negotiations are completed. After negotiations are completed, the parties will submit a signed agreement to the judge detailing the protections that the parties want entered. As long as the agreement is reasonable and complete, the judge will enter the order.
What Happens if Someone Violates a Civil Restraints Order?
If someone is accused of violating a civil restraints order, then he or she will typically face civil sanctions, such as a fine. If someone is accused of violating a restraining order, then he or she will typically face criminal sanctions, such as a criminal contempt charge. If the individual is convicted of criminal contempt, then he or she can be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail and can be fined up to $1,000 per offense. Civil restraints orders do not typically go this route unless the alleged violation is a criminal offense.
Where Can I File a Civil Restraints Order in Sussex County?
A civil restraints order must be filed in the local county Superior Court. If someone wants a civil restraints order in Sussex County, then it must be filed with the Sussex County Superior Court. If a restraining order has been filed, then any restraining order final hearings will be canceled.
The Sussex County Superior Court is located at:
43-47 High St
Newton, NJ 07860
The Court is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Monday-Friday.
Make sure that you have an attorney's assistance to defend you if you're facing a restraining order petition and/or to negotiate what will be included in a civil restraints order. Attempting to represent yourself in a restraining order case can potentially lead to court sanctions if there are existing protective orders.
Can I Have a Civil Restraints Order Canceled?
Yes, if the parties agree to cancel a civil restraints order, then they can request the court to cancel it. The petitioner and defendant may find that their wants and needs have changed over time and may find that an existing civil restraints order is no longer necessary. The court will have to agree to cancel a civil restraints order before it is canceled. The parties cannot unilaterally cancel an existing civil restraints order without court approval. The judge is not required to cancel an order and will likely need to be convinced why an order should be canceled. If you have legal questions, then call us at the Lento Law Firm today!
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
If you have questions about civil restraints orders in Sussex County, then make sure that you speak to an experienced attorney. It is essential to know what the Sussex County Superior Court is seeking when determining whether to grant a civil restraints order. The attorneys at the Lento Law Firm have the experience and ability to put you in the best position for success regardless of your situation. To learn why the Lento Law Firm is the right choice, call us toll-free at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.