To protect victims of domestic violence sometimes a restraining order is necessary. This is an order issued by a court that prevents the person named in the order from contacting and communicating with the victim of abuse and sometimes also their minor children. Anyone suffering from domestic violence can file for a restraining order against an abuser. In instances where the victim’s life has been threatened and there is a strong history of violence in the relationship, the court may also ban the abuser from possessing a firearm. Although a restraining order does not mean jail time for the named person, it is a serious charge that is reflected on his or her permanent record. All employers, current and future can view the protective order.
Two Types of Protective Orders
In New Jersey, the court can issue two different kinds of protective orders. A temporary restraining order is just that – temporary protection for the victim that lasts until a court hearing determines if it should become a final restraining order or permanent. The case is heard by the Superior Court Judge in the Family Division 10 days after the temporary restraining order has been issued.
In court the judge will hear evidence from the victim about why the temporary restraining issue was filed and why it should be made final. Both the victim and the defendant are given a chance to tell their side of the story. As proof, family lawyers will present emails, voice mails, texts, and pictures to the judge. Witnesses may also testify in support of evidence presented before the court. To grant a final restraining order, three criteria are necessary. A history of domestic violence on either side, and existence of a previous act of domestic violence must be proven. It must also be shown that the victim has reason to fear for their safety and that the restraining order will protect them. If enough evidence is presented to make a convincing case, the judge can make the temporary restraining order final. A lack of evidence to support the restraining order can cause it to be canceled.
The law considers many acts as domestic abuse, including:
- Criminal trespassing
- Sexual assault
- Terroristic threats
Violation of a Protective Order
Penalties for violation of a restraining order can vary, but violating a restraining order is viewed as contempt of court in the eyes of the law. This is a criminal offense punishable by jail time and fines. For second and subsequent violations, the penalty is at least 30 days in jail.
Woodbridge Domestic Violence Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Victims of Abuse
If you or someone you love is a victim of domestic violence and needs protection from an abuser, do not delay in seeking help. The caring Woodbridge domestic violence lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. are equipped to provide you with the experienced representation that you need. Call 908-575-9777 for a consultation about your case, or contact us online. We are a family law firm serving the entire state of New Jersey including the communities of Woodbridge, Somerville, Mendham, Somerset, and Bridgewater.