Camden NJ Temporary Restraining Order Lawyers
Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys in Camden County, New Jersey
A temporary restraining order can arise in a variety of situations. When an allegation of domestic violence occurs or police are called to the scene of an alleged domestic violence incident, a temporary restraining order (TRO) may result. Also, a person who is seeking a permanent restraining order based on stalking, harassment, or assault can file for a temporary restraining order at their local police department or local court. Once a temporary restraining order has been issued, a final restraining order hearing must be held within 10 days. Until then, the person served the TRO cannot have any contact with the alleged victim, whether it be in person, via phone, text, or social media, or through the plaintiff’s friends or family. If you are on either side of a restraining order case, the result of the hearing can spell serious implications for the rest of your life. As a TRO defendant, the issuance of a final restraining order can prevent you from living in your previous home, going to places you used to frequent, having custody of your children, and owning a weapon. As the victim of domestic violence, turning a temporary restraining order into a final one can protect you and your loved ones from having to live in fear of further abuse. In either scenario, having an experienced restraining order lawyer protecting your interests is absolutely critical.
At our law firm, our New Jersey domestic violence attorneys represent spouses, partners, relatives and the like who find themselves involved in restraining order proceedings. We understand the catastrophic impact that a restraining order can have on an individual and his or her family and we fight aggressively for you. Our restraining order lawyers represent plaintiffs and defendants in TRO and FRO hearings throughout Camden County and New Jersey. If you are dealing with a domestic abuse or restraining order matter in New Jersey, contact our offices today at 609-832-3202.
What is the NJ Prevention of Domestic Violence Act?
New Jersey law addresses the requirements and procedures related to restraining orders in the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17). There are two types of restraining orders: temporary and final. When a person files a complaint for a restraining order, the first thing that a judge will do is decide if a temporary restraining order should be placed into effect. The purpose of a temporary restraining order is to protect the victim before a hearing is held regarding a final restraining order. As mentioned, the FRO hearing is typically scheduled within 10 days. When deciding whether or not to issue a TRO, the judge only hears from the alleged victim. In other words, it is based on the victim’s allegations without notice to the defendant or his or her response.
What is Required to Obtain a Temporary Restraining Order?
In order for a judge to issue a temporary restraining order, he or she must determine that the following criteria are applicable:
- The victim qualifies as a “victim” under the definition set forth in the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, which means the plaintiff and the defendant must have been or currently be married, dating, living together, or have a child together;
- The defendant committed a predicate act of domestic violence as identified under NJ law, including crimes such as harassment, simple assault, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, or stalking; and
- An temporary restraining order is necessary to protect the safety and wellbeing of the plaintiff pending a final hearing.
What does a Temporary Restraining Order Do?
If a temporary restraining order is placed in effect, the defendant is forbidden from returning to the scene of the alleged domestic violence or from the residence where he or she previously resided with the plaintiff, unless accompanied by a police officer to retrieve personal effects at a scheduled date and time. The defendant must forfeit any weapons in his or her possession pending a formal weapons forfeiture proceeding after the final restraining order hearing. If the plaintiff and the defendant have children, the plaintiff may be given temporary custody until the matter is decided.
Is a Temporary Restraining Order a Criminal Charge?
No. A Temporary Restraining Order, or TRO, is a civil proceeding. However, when police are called to the scene of an alleged domestic violence incident, or the alleged victim files a complaint with police, the defendant may be charged with a criminal offense in addition to facing a temporary restraining order. In other words, you may be served a TRO plus a criminal complaint for assault, terroristic threats, sexual assault, criminal restraint, or criminal coercion. In this situation, the criminal charges are handled in an entirely different venue than the restraining order. For instance, in Camden County, a criminal charge will be adjudicated in the at either the Camden County Superior Court Criminal Division or the local municipal court (depending on the type of criminal offense and where it occurred), while the restraining order hearing will be held in the Camden County Superior Court Family Division. Technically, the criminal case is a criminal proceeding, while the restraining order is a civil proceeding. If one case is decided, this does not necessarily translate into the same outcome in the other case.
Gloucester Township Restraining Order Attorneys
If you need assistance with a restraining order and/or criminal charges for domestic violence in Camden or Burlington County or elsewhere in South Jersey, contact our offices immediately at 609-832-3202 for a free consultation. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in temporary restraining order matters and associated criminal cases. Whether your matter occurred in Gloucester Township, Pennsauken, Voorhees, Winslow, Cherry Hill or Bellmawr, we can help. Contact us today to find the answers you need to protect yourself.