Camden County Final Restraining Order Attorneys
A final restraining order (“FRO”) is the permanent order of protection resulting from accusations of domestic violence in New Jersey. The first part of a domestic abuse case in New Jersey involves a temporary “ex parte” restraining order, which is intended to protect the victim before the final restraining order proceeding occurs. A hearing for the FRO must be held within a short period of time, typically 10 days from the issuance of the temporary order. These proceedings are complex and undoubtedly contentious, with both sides required to present evidence and testimony to prove their case. If a final restraining order is ultimately issued, the implications are manifold. It can affect where you live, where you can and cannot go, who you can talk to, whether or not you can own a firearm or other weapon, and even how much access you have to your children. On the other hand, if you are a victim in real danger, a final restraining order can decide whether or not you are safe and protected from future domestic violence.
At our criminal defense law firm, our restraining order attorneys understand the complexities of final restraining order hearings and we take the grave nature of these circumstances very seriously. We know that a false accusation can be extremely damaging to your life personally and professionally. Likewise, living in fear can be torture. As a result, we fight tirelessly on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants in restraining order cases and we take the time to accumulate every element of evidence that we can use to deliver a favorable result. If you are dealing with a permanent restraining order matter in Camden County or Southern New Jersey, contact us today at 609-832-3202 for a free consultation. We are happy to answer all of your questions over the phone or schedule an appointment at the office location nearest you.
What Do I Need to Know about Final Restraining Order Cases in NJ?
The hearing for a final restraining order is held in the Family Division of the Superior Court in the county where the initial restraining order was filed. As mentioned, these proceedings are generally scheduled within 10 days. When determining whether or not to implement a permanent restraining order, a judge must find that the following are true:
- The defendant committed a predicate act of domestic violence: this can be any of the 16 criminal offenses currently recognized under New Jersey law. They range from homicide and kidnapping to burglary, lewdness, harassment, simple assault, terroristic threats and criminal trespass.
- There was a history of domestic violence between the plaintiff and the defendant. This isn’t necessarily a requirement, as a particularly egregious singular incident may overcome this factor. However, most final restraining orders require that the plaintiff establish of a pattern of domestic abuse. In other words, the most recent offense is not an isolated incident, but simply the most recent manifestation of previous behavior.
- The victim’s safety and well-being is at risk, he or she has reason to be in fear, and a final restraining order is necessary to protect the victim and any other protected persons named in the order (i.e. loved ones).
What Evidence Can be used at an FRO Hearing?
In order to prove the above elements, a variety of evidence may be used. Considering the different ways we communicate today, text messages, social media messaging, phone calls, voicemails, and emails often come into play. Some other common forms of evidence are medical records, police reports (if the officer is subpoenaed to testify) and witness testimony. The plaintiff and the defendant are also entitled to testify regarding the alleged domestic violence.
What are the Consequences of a Final Restraining Order?
If a final restraining order is issued, this can spell a variety of serious consequences for the person subject to the order. First, the FRO prohibits the defendant from contacting or coming in contact with the plaintiff at any time. It may also prohibit contact between the accused and certain “protected persons,” such as the victim’s family, children, or other loved ones. The defendant also must permanently forfeit any weapons in their possession and cannot own or possess a firearm or weapon in the future. Final restraining orders can include other requirements as well, such as changes in child custody orders, supervised visitation, substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling, or anger management classes. The defendant may also be prevented from residing in their previous home if it was shared by the parties.
What Happens if you Violate a Permanent Restraining Order?
In New Jersey, violation of a restraining order is a criminal offense known as contempt. This is a very serious indictable crime governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9. If you are convicted of violating a restraining order, you face up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $25,000. A second offense for violating a restraining order carries a mandatory period of incarceration.
Can I Remove a Final Restraining Order in Camden County?
Yes. To get a restraining order vacated in New Jersey, you can file a motion to remove a final restraining order with the Superior Court and judge that originally heard you case. To succeed on your motion, you need to argue that the that the restraining order is no longer necessary. The seminal case for these types of motions is Carfagno v. Carfagno, 288 N.J. Super. 424 (Ch. Div. 1995). For more information on how to file a motion to remove a restraining order in New Jersey and what is required to be shown to the court in your application, contact our office.
Our Lawyers Can Help Your Camden NJ Final Restraining Order
If you are on either side of a final restraining order matter, it is essential to construct the most compelling case in your favor. The immediate nature of domestic violence cases means you have limited time to build an aggressive case strategy. Our NJ restraining order lawyers are available to assist you immediately. We regularly represent clients in Camden, Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township, Pennsauken, Winslow, Voorhees and Bellmawr. Contact our firm at 609-832-3202 for additional information and a free consultation today.