If you receive a restraining order in Woodbridge Township, NJ, you must know how to respond. The Lento Law Firm Team can help you deal with a restraining order and overcome this challenge – call on 888.535.3686 to discuss your case. In the meantime, here's how restraining orders work and how they're handled in Woodbridge Township.
Restraining Orders: The Basics
A restraining order (RO) limits someone's ability to communicate with another individual. It usually also restricts a person's movements. For example, this could mean that they can't be within a certain distance of the alleged victim.
To get a RO, one party petitions the court and asks for protection against the alleged abuser. ROs are usually granted in cases where there's alleged domestic violence or a related crime e.g., sexual assault.
Temporary vs Final Restraining Orders
ROs can be temporary or final.
Temporary restraining orders (TROs) only last a few days. They're granted on an ex-parte basis, meaning the judge only hears one side of the story before issuing the order. As it would be unfair for such an order to be in place for too long, they only last until there's a court hearing in around 10 days' time.
Final restraining orders (FROs) last indefinitely. They're granted after the court hearing if the judge believes an order is necessary to protect the victim. They can only be modified or canceled by petitioning the court later.
What Happens When You Receive a Restraining Order in Woodbridge Township?
If you've received a TRO, a few things might happen. For example, you could be forced to leave your home if you share it with the petitioner. You may be required to relinquish your firearms, and you could be unable to access your personal property.
In all cases, though, you must cooperate with law enforcement. Although it's frightening and stressful to receive a TRO, challenging police officers or refusing to accept the TRO will have negative consequences for you. Instead, read over the TRO, make sure you understand its terms, and make a note of the court date scheduled for your RO hearing. Immediately contact a restraining order attorney for representation and advice.
Consequences of Final Restraining Orders
Final restraining orders have enduring consequences. They can severely impact your life and, in the worst-case scenarios, prevent you from pursuing certain careers or professional opportunities. Some of the most common consequences of final restraining orders include:
- Inability to contact your children or have visitation rights.
- Restrictions on professional licenses, e.g., for healthcare professionals.
- Inability to attend family gatherings or major life events.
- Restrictions on firearm ownership and possession.
- Strains on other professional, social, and romantic relationships.
The best way to avoid or at least mitigate these consequences is to challenge the RO effectively at the restraining order hearing.
You could face criminal contempt charges if you violate a restraining order in NJ. The penalties include arrest, fines, and jail time. Do not risk a RO violation – ask your attorney if you're unsure how to comply.
The FRO Hearing in Woodbridge Township
Your TRO may arise out of Woodbridge, but your FRO hearing may not take place here. Instead, you may attend the Family Court within the Middlesex County Superior Court. The court can be found at 56 Paterson St, New Brunswick, NJ 08903.
If you need help, you can call the court at (732) 645-4300 during business hours (8.30 am - 4.30 pm, Monday through Friday).
What Happens at the Hearing?
At the FRO hearing, the judge considers the evidence presented by both parties. This is your first chance to tell your side of the story and show why the TRO should be dismissed. As such, it's crucial that you present as much evidence as possible in your defense. Your attorney can evaluate what evidence may be helpful and explain how you might challenge the accusations.
The judge decides the case based on the “preponderance of the evidence”. Essentially, this means that one version of events is more likely to be true than not true.
If the judge decides that the petitioner is not at risk, they'll end the TRO, and the case will be dismissed. The petitioner can appeal this decision, but the restrictions come to an end.
If the judge accepts the petitioner's position, they'll grant the FRO. The order comes into effect immediately, so you should avoid contact with the petitioner even when leaving court. Your attorney can walk you through what happens next.
Appealing a Final Restraining Order in Woodbridge Township
It's sometimes possible to appeal a FRO issued in Woodbridge Township.
- You must file your appeal within 45 days of the FRO hearing judgment. Otherwise, you lose your right to appeal.
- You need legal grounds to make an appeal. Examples of grounds for appeal include when a judge errs in applying the law or doesn't apply the rules of evidence correctly. It's not enough that you think the decision is unfair. There must be legal grounds for challenging the decision.
To be clear, you can't appeal temporary restraining orders. This is because they only last a short period – they're an emergency protective measure. If the TRO becomes a FRO, the right to make an appeal kicks in.
Lento Law Firm Restraining Order Attorneys
If you've just been served with a restraining order, you need to act quickly to handle the situation. Your first step should be contacting an experienced attorney who can explain the options available in your case and guide you through the legal process. This is not a matter you should handle alone – the consequences are simply too significant to leave anything to chance.
The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team wants to help. We can help you gather evidence in your defense, devise an effective case strategy, and represent you at the FRO hearing. We will do everything possible to have the TRO dismissed or the outcome lessened. And if an appeal is necessary, we'll help you with the proceedings.
Remember, a restraining order is a serious legal instrument. It can have profound long-term consequences. To discuss how you might have a RO dismissed or how you could mitigate the outcome, contact us at 888.535.3686 or reach our attorneys online.