Restraining Orders in New Jersey can have a devastating impact on a person, and are often issued by a Judge without any type of criminal charges filed. The first step in the domestic violence process, a temporary restraining order (TRO) is a civil order issued by a Judge against an individual which bars or restrains contact with a particular person. The TRO is temporary in nature and cannot be converted to a Final Restraining Order (FRO) without proper service upon the defendant, and a hearing before a Superior Court Judge. The parties are not entitled to jury, and the standard of proof is simply the preponderance of the evidence. Handling these matters without the assistance of counsel is very risky, and not recommended.
To prove the necessity of an FRO, the alleged victim must first show that the defendant violated one of 19 “predicate acts”. The acts include:
- Terroristic Threats
- Criminal Restraint
- False Imprisonment
- Sexual Assault
- Criminal Sexual Contact
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Trespass
- Criminal Coercion
- Cyber Harassment
- Crimes involving Risk of Death or Serious Bodily Injury
If the Court determines that a predicate was committed, the victim must next show that there is an immediate danger to that person such that a restraining order is necessary to prevent future acts of abuse.
This analysis is extremely fact sensitive and requires extensive pre hearing preparation and investigation. The additional stressors of family and children often make these matters intensely emotional and difficult. Having an experienced attorney on your side during this difficult time is essential to get the help you deserve.
If a Restraining Order has been issued against you, you need help fast. Call us today at (609) 294-8300 to discuss your options and to schedule a free consultation.