What Shoul I Do if I'm Served with a Temporary Restraining Order

Served with a Restraining Order in Monmouth County?

Being served with a temporary restraining order can be extremely stressful and often very emotional. Not fully understanding the restrictions and often times, not even sure why they were even being served with it only adds to the stress.  Combine that with the desire to contact the other party, the situation can become very overwhelming in short period of time. That is why it is absolutely crucial that you understand how a temporary restraining order works in New Jersey and the potential ramifications.

To make matters worse,  being served with a temporary restraining order can only be half of the nightmare. Depending on the facts of the case, the party seeking the order of protection could also have filed criminal charges as well. The criminal charges would be on top of the temporary restraining order. In addition, more often than not, the criminal charges will need to be filed on a warrant status, which would require the individual to be detained in the county jail for at least 24 hours. If the situation is egregious enough, the prosecution could seek to file for a Detention Hearing, whereby they will be seeking to convince the Judge that the individual must be detained in the county jail, without bail, pending trial. So as you can see, domestic violence is anything but straightforward and a split second lapse in judgement could have catastrophic effects on your life.

What are the Restrictions of a Temporary Restraining Order?

A temporary restraining order is exactly what it sounds like, a temporary. It prohibits the defendant from contacting the plaintiff in anyway. It could also impose other restrictions like prohibiting the defendant from returning to their residence, seeing their children, imposing temporary financial support and surrendering their firearms.  One of the most crucial mistakes a defendant makes is trying to contact the plaintiff, whether directly or indirectly through a third party. If this occurs and the plaintiff reports the incident to the authorities, the defendant will almost certainly be arrested and issued a criminal complaint for violating a restraining order. A violation of a restraining order is a criminal charge and would be handled in a separate proceeding. In addition, it will certainly strengthen the plaintiff’s case in the underlying restraining order hearing as well.

What type of Evidence is Important at a Final Restraining Order Hearing?

In order for the temporary order of protection to become permanent, a final restraining order must be conducted. At a final restraining order hearing it will be the plaintiff’s burden to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that they are in need of a permanent order of protection. These hearings are in essence mini-trials, therefore it important for the defendant to try and gather as much possible mitigating evidence as they can. More often than not, these types of hearings will involve some form of electronic discovery, meaning text messages, emails, snapchats, Facebook messages, photos and video’s, therefore, it is important to save this evidence. All to often, defendant’s will erase all the messages in an effort to escape the reality of the situation, which could to be very problematic when it comes time for the final restraining order hearing. Especially considering the fact that the plaintiff most likely still has the messages.

It is imperative that the defendant try and gather as much evidence as possible, including any potential witnesses to combat the plaintiff’s allegations. At a final restraining order hearing, the plaintiff will be called upon to testify and present whatever evidence, including witnesses to support their position. Since this if a formal proceeding, the plaintiff and their witnesses will be subject to cross-examination. The defendant will also have the opportunity if they so choose to testify and present witnesses on their behalf in order to establish that a permanent order of protection is not necessary. These hearings are very involved and happen in a rather short time period, that is just one of the many reasons that we strongly urge you contact an attorney as soon as possible to at least discuss your options.

Charged Criminally with an Act of Domestic Violence?

Although a temporary restraining order is civil in nature, the underlying facts used to obtain the restraining order can be used to charge the defendant criminally as well. If a Defendant is charged criminally as well, those charges will be heard in separate proceeding. If the defendant is charged with a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) like simple assaultfalse imprisonment or harassment then the charges will be heard in the local municipal court where the incident happened. However, if the Defendant is charged with an indictable offense (felony) like aggravated assaultterroristic threats, stalking, sexual assault or cyber-harassment then the charges will be transferred to the Monmouth County Superior Court, Criminal Division for disposition. It is also important to note that these charges will be in addition to the restraining order and if the Defendant is charged with violating the restraining order too, they will be in addition to those charges as well. Which could lead to the Defendant dealing with three separate cases.

Need Attorney for Restraining Order in Monmouth County?

As you can see from reading above, domestic violence incidents, including restraining orders as well as criminal charges are not something to take lightly. If you have been involved in a domestic dispute in Monmouth County, in towns like Middletown, Rumson, Belmar, Atlantic HighlandsEatontownTinton FallsMillstoneRed BankMarlboro, Freehold or elsewhere, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Our office has been defending those served with temporary restraining orders in Monmouth County for the better part of the last decade. We fully understand the ramifications of a final restraining order and as such, we are dedicated to aggressively defending these types of allegations. This hearings more often than not boil down to a he said she said type of situation, therefore it is crucial that you seek proper representation to exploit the issues. If you would like to speak to one of our attorney today, please contact our Monmouth County Domestic Violence defense attorneys at 732.858.6959 or you can try contacting us online.

Author: Keith G. Oliver

Founding partner Keith G. Oliver has a passion for helping people who are caught up in the criminal justice system. He believes that everyone has a right to be presumed innocent, and that one mistake shouldn’t define a person forever. This passion drives Mr. Oliver to tirelessly fight for his clients and pursue the best possible outcome in every case.