Written by: Taryn R. Zimmerman, Esq.
Immediately following an incident of domestic violence, there are many things that are swirling around the victim’s head. Not only is the victim dealing with the actual occurrence of domestic violence and the fear they may be facing, but they are also dealing with stress of having to apply for a temporary restraining order. The process involves either making the application through the court on weekdays between the hours of 8:30 am and 3:30 pm or the local police when the courts are closed.
It is paramount that the victim set forth the relationship’s complete history of domestic violence in the initial complaint for the first temporary restraining order. When deciding whether or not to issue a final restraining order, the court must take into account prior history of domestic violence. If a prior occurrence of domestic violence is not in the first complaint, the victim could be barred from testifying about the event – and this can be detrimental to his or her chances of obtaining a final order of protection.
More often than not, a victim is not given the opportunity to tell his or her entire story when the initial complaint is filled out. The “prior history” section of the complaint is very small and law enforcement or court personnel have been known to advise victims that there is not enough space to include “everything”. If this is the case, the victim must file an amended complaint immediately in order to protect themselves for later court proceedings. By filing an amended complaint, the victim will have to return to the courthouse and provide additional testimony (before a judge or hearing officer) setting forth all prior instances of domestic violence they wish to testify to at the final restraining order hearing.
It is beneficial for a victim to consult with an attorney prior to amending their complaint. Because the victim will actually have to testify to the additional acts of domestic violence, there is a chance that being in front of a judge may rattle the victim and he or she may not accurately recount everything that needs to be stated. Therefore, it is recommended that the attorney help the victim draft an amended verified complaint to be served on the defendant to ensure the defendant has proper notice of all of the accusations and to increase the victim’s chances of obtaining a final restraining order at trial.
If you are in the unfortunate situation of prosecuting a temporary restraining order, contact Lyons & Associates. Our skilled attorneys will make sure that your case is thoroughly prepared so that your chances of obtaining a final restraining order are greatly increased.
Contact Lyons & Associates
Contact us online or by calling 908-575-9777.