Served with a Restraining Order Lawyer in Hillsborough Township
Domestic violence allegations have been a hot button issue for years now. As a result, the legislature is constantly altering the current laws to better protect those who fall a victim to domestic violence. One of the more common defense mechanism used by victim’s of domestic violence is a temporary restraining order, more commonly referred to by its acronym, TRO. A TRO is New Jersey’s version of an order of protection. Even though Hillsborough Township is one of the more affluent municipalities in all of New Jersey it is not immune from its fair share of domestic violence allegations. If you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence like simple assault, harassment, terroristic threats or served with a TRO in Hillsborough Township we strongly urge that you speak to an experienced Domestic Violence Defense Attorney about your options. At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, our attorneys fully comprehend the stress and anxiety that most feel when they have been involved in a domestic dispute. If you would like to speak to one of our attorneys about your options, feel free to reach out to our office at 908.533.1064. Now here is some important information when it comes to domestic violence allegations in New Jersey.
Do I have to go to Court for a Restraining Order in Hillsborough
Anyone served with a TRO will need to appear in the Chancery Division, Family Part of the County Courthouse where the alleged victim resides for a Final Restraining Order Hearing. By statute, the final restraining order hearing must be scheduled no later then 10 days after the issuance of the TRO. Both parties are required to appear in Court. If the defendant (aggressor) fails to appear for a final restraining order hearing, the hearing may be conducted in abstentia and the Judge can make his ruling without ever hearing from them.
What Happens During a Final Retraining Order Hearing in NJ?
Once a TRO is filed a final restraining order hearing must be conducted in order to determine if a permanent order of protection is required. At a FRO hearing the Judge will hear testimony from the plaintiff (victim) and whatever witnesses that they choose to call. Once the plaintiff and their witnesses testifies, the defendant will have the ability to cross-examine them on their testimony as well as any witnesses that they may call. Once the plaintiff has presented their case it will then be up to the defendant (aggressor) to present their defense if they see fit. Once the Judge has heard all the testimony, they will need to make a determination on whether a final order of protection is necessary to prevent the plaintiff from suffering future acts of domestic violence. These hearings are in essence mini-trials and more often than not will boil down to the credibility of the witnesses. The rules of evidence apply, which can further complicate these proceedings for those who are inexperienced.
How Serious is a Restraining Order in NJ? Should I Hire an Attorney?
Even though a restraining order is civil in nature, the potential consequences if one is imposed can be more damaging then most criminal charges. Some of the potential ramifications of a final order of protection in New Jersey are as follows: expelled from their home; prohibited from having contact with their children; temporary loss of their custodial rights to their children; compensatory and/or punitive damages; temporary emergent monetary relief; forfeiture of firearms; prohibited from owning firearms; barred from returning to places the plaintiff or plaintiff family frequents; forced to undergo psychological evaluations and professional counseling; fingerprinted; entered into central registry for domestic violence. As you can see, these consequences can be crippling. The inability to speak to the plaintiff moving forward is probably the least onerous condition that can be imposed. It is also important to note here that a final order of protection in New Jersey will never expire. That means that unless a motion to vacate is filed and granted after a full hearing is conducted, it will remain forever.
Is a Restraining Order Criminal in NJ?
No, restraining orders are civil in nature in New Jersey. Therefore, if one is imposed, it will not result in a permanent criminal record. With that being said, it is extremely common for someone who is served with a TRO to also be charged criminally for their conduct. If that is to occur, they are considered two separate cases and will need to be litigated in two separate court proceedings. All domestic violence criminal charges issued in Hillsborough Township will either be issued in the Hillsborough Municipal Court or the Somerset County Superior Court. The degree of the charge will dictate where the charge will be litigated. All indictable domestic violence offenses, which include aggravated assault, terroristic threats, stalking, sexual assault, burglary and cyber-harassment will be transferred from the Hillsborough Municipal Court to the Somerset County Superior Court for disposition. All disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons domestic violence offenses like simple assault, harassment and false imprisonment will be litigated in the Hillsborough Municipal Court.
Need to Speak to a Restraining Order Attorney in Hillsborough Nj
Domestic violence allegation are not something to take lightly in Hillsborough. As you can see from above, the ramifications of a restraining order alone can be life changing. That is why we strongly urge that for anyone facing such an allegation that they consult with an attorney about their options prior to appearing in Court. These types of cases are always filled with emotion and the anxiety is always running high. To make matters worse, the criminal aspect of these types of cases tend always be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law in a way of trying to deter others. If you would like to setup an initial free consultation with one of the domestic violence defense lawyers at Keith Oliver Criminal Law, please call 908.533.1064.