Document with the name restraining order.

New Jersey Restraining Order Defense Lawyer

A restraining order in New Jersey can limit your ability to contact the person who has requested one against you. If you break the restrictions set out in New Jersey restraining orders, you could end up in jail and face fines and other serious consequences. Additionally, the final terms of a restraining order may include other requirements and restrictions, such as a prohibition against owning a firearm.

Has someone sought a restraining order against you? If so, a New Jersey restraining order defense lawyer with William Proetta Criminal Law can offer the defense you need. Contact our law firm today to learn more in a free consultation. It’s completely confidential and comes without further obligations on your part.

Definition and Types of Restraining Orders in New Jersey

Restraining orders in New Jersey legally prohibit someone from contacting the person who requested the order against them. There are two types of restraining orders under New Jersey law:

  • Temporary restraining orders (TRO)
  • Final restraining orders (FRO)

Often, the person requesting a temporary restraining order (called the applicant) does so because they feel they are in immediate danger. They might not believe they can wait for a judge to hear both sides of the story before making a determination. Thus, a temporary restraining order offers protection for a limited time until a judge can make a permanent decision.

A judge may decide to issue a final restraining order after hearing more about the case in a final restraining order hearing. An FRO remains in effect unless, upon an applicant’s request, a judge vacates the order. In some cases, the person the FRO is against (called the respondent) can also ask the court to lift the restraining order.

A restraining order in New Jersey can do more than simply prohibit the respondent from contacting the applicant. It can also include other forms of relief, such as prohibiting the respondent from being within a certain distance of the applicant. Additionally, the applicant can request that it also include a child support order.

Grounds for Obtaining a Restraining Order in New Jersey

An alleged victim can file for a restraining order against an alleged perpetrator in New Jersey if any of the following are true:

  • They are or were married to the accused.
  • They are living with or have a dating relationship with the accused.
  • They have children with the accused.

There is a common, incorrect assumption that an applicant must be (or have been) involved in a romantic relationship with the respondent to get a restraining order. That’s not the case. Applicants can request a restraining order to protect them from anyone with whom they have a “family relationship.”

The applicant typically doesn’t need to show much evidence of domestic violence to get a TRO. However, the respondent has the chance to present their side of the story before a judge issues an FRO. Thus, the alleged victim may have to provide evidence of domestic violence at the FRO hearing.

What Can You Do If Someone Seeks a Restraining Order Against You?

Never attempt to contact someone who’s taking out a restraining order against you, even if they’re only seeking one and haven’t yet received an order. Contacting someone who asked you not to can strengthen their case.

Read all materials thoroughly and carefully when you receive notice of a TRO. The information will explain what you can and cannot do to comply with the order. It will also explain how you may defend yourself in an FRO hearing.

Strongly consider meeting with a restraining order lawyer in NJ prior to the start of the restraining order process. Having the right legal representation to mount a vigorous defense could significantly influence your hearing’s outcome.

Can You Have Your Restraining Order Lifted?

In some cases, it’s possible to get a restraining order lifted in New Jersey without the applicant having asked the court to vacate the order. A respondent can ask the court to lift an FRO by following these steps:

  • Completing a Notice of Motion for Dismissal of a Final Restraining Order by Defendant form
  • Completing a Certification in Support of a Motion to Dismiss a Final Restraining Order form
  • Completing a Notice to Plaintiff form
  • Completing a Cover Letter form
  • Submitting the completed forms to the relevant court through the mail or the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) system

Once the court receives these documents, a defendant must satisfy the terms of a two-part test before a court will lift an FRO. First, they must show good cause to lift the restraining order by addressing these factors:

  • The applicant’s consent
  • The applicant’s fear (or lack thereof) of the respondent
  • The relationship between the applicant and the respondent
  • The number of past contempt convictions, if any
  • Whether the respondent abuses drugs or alcohol
  • Whether the respondent engages in violence with other people
  • Whether the respondent has participated in counseling
  • The respondent’s age and health
  • Whether the applicant is acting in good faith if they oppose lifting the restraining order
  • Whether there have been any other restraining orders issued against the respondent
  • Any other factors the court deems relevant

Additionally, a defendant must show there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.” Our New Jersey restraining order defense lawyer can help explain what that means in your circumstances.

Role of a Restraining Order Defense Attorney

A NJ restraining order lawyer is a crucial ally whether someone is requesting a restraining order against you or you are asking for an existing order to be lifted. Attempting to represent yourself could seriously damage your case. Even the official legal instructions from the New Jersey Courts system strongly encourage respondents to hire lawyers.

Consequences of Violating a Restraining Order in New Jersey

Various factors influence the penalties you might face for violating a restraining order in New Jersey. For a first violation, you may face up to 18 months in prison. You might automatically have to serve 30 days in jail for a subsequent violation. Whether you’ve been charged with any related domestic violence offenses will play a role in potential consequences.

How Legal Counsel Can Help with Restraining Order Issues

You have rights, and you deserve to have your side of the story heard. An experienced criminal defense attorney with William Proetta Criminal Law can provide legal assistance to:

  • Develop a case strategy aimed at securing a favorable outcome
  • Defend you in court
  • Present evidence that your behavior does not warrant a restraining order
  • Negotiate the terms of the order
  • Work to prevent a TRO from becoming an FRO
  • Complete the paperwork and show you meet the criteria necessary to lift an existing FRO
  • Explain the terms of the order to help you avoid penalties for violating it

Ready to get serious about your defense? Contact us today for a free consultation about your options.