Final Restraining Order Lawyers in Mercer County
In New Jersey, a victim of an act of domestic violence has the right to obtain what is known as a temporary restraining order (TRO) against a Defendant. A TRO is exactly what it sounds like, temporary. In order for a TRO to become a final restraining order (FRO) a formal hearing in the Chancery Division, Family Part of the Superior Court must take place. This hearing is more commonly referred to as an FRO Hearing and it is in essence a mini trial. If you have been served with a TRO it is crucial that you speak to an experienced Mercer County restraining order defense attorney as soon as possible about your options. Time is of the essence when it comes to FRO’s, the parties must appear in court within 10 days. If you have been accused of an act of domestic violence, including simple assault, stalking, harassment, criminal mischief, false imprisonment, aggravated assault and served a TRO the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Our attorneys have been defending clients at FRO hearings for almost a decade now. If you have been served with a TRO in Mercer County in towns like Hamilton, West Windsor, East Windsor, Princeton, Hightstown, Ewing or Robbinsville, we can help. If you would like to schedule a consultation today with one of our attorneys then please contact us at (609) 789-0779. We fully understand what a FRO can do to one’s future. For more information on FRO hearings in Mercer County, please see below.
Can I be Found Guilty of a Restraining Order in NJ?
Being served with a TRO can be extremely nerve wracking and to make matters worse, time is really of the essence with these types of cases. Traditionally, in order to obtain a FRO in New Jersey the plaintiff must establish three material elements by a preponderance of the evidence. With that being said, the Courts have issued FRO’s if the plaintiff can establish that the current act of domestic violence is physical in nature and egregious enough that an FRO is necessary.
What Must Be Established in Order to Obtain a FRO in Mercer County?
Here are the three main elements that a plaintiff who is seeking to obtain an FRO in New Jersey must establish by a preponderance of the evidence.
- That the Defendant committed a current act of domestic violence:
- There is a past history of domestic violence between the plaintiff and the Defendant; &
- That the FRO is necessary to protect the plaintiff from future acts of domestic violence.
Where are Final Restraining Orders Heard in Mercer County?
These types of hearings occur in the Chancery Division, Family Part of the Mercer County Superior Courthouse, which is located at 175 South Broad Street in Trenton. If the Defendant is also charged with an indictable (felony) criminal complaint like stalking, kidnapping, sexual assault, aggravated assault or false imprisonment then those charges will be litigated in the Criminal Division of the Mercer County Superior Courthouse. Conversely, if the Defendant is charged with a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) criminal complaint then like: harassment, trespassing, criminal mischief or simple assault then those charges will be litigated in the local Municipal Court. It is important to highlight, if a criminal charge is filed, this will be in addition to the TRO. That means that even though the cases derive from the same set of facts and involve the same parties, they will be litigated in two separate court proceedings. As touched upon above, due to the nature of the allegations domestic violence allegations, the parties will be forced to appear in front of a Judge within ten (10) days of the issuance of the TRO. Therefore, is imperative that you speak to an experienced domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible about your options. If an FRO is granted the Judge will be forced to impose rather significant consequences.
Can I Call Witnesses at a Final Restraining Order Hearing
Yes. Final restraining order hearings are basically mini trials. That means that the plaintiff will be called upon to testify in support of their cases. They can also call any witnesses that they believe support their position as well as present any evidence that they believe is relevant to their cases. Once the plaintiff presents their case, the Defendant will have the ability to cross examine the plaintiff and any witnesses they present. Once that occurs, the Defendant will have the same opportunity to present their case, including any witnesses and evidence that they may believe is relevant to their defense. It is important to remember that the Defendant’s testimony may be used against them in limited situations in their criminal case. So it is important to discuss all your options with an experienced domestic violence defense attorney prior to testifying.
What are the Ramifications of a Final Restraining Order in NJ?
Although an FRO is technically civil in nature, the penalties if granted can be crippling to a Defendant’s future. If an FRO is granted in New Jersey a Defendant would be:
- Placed into a Domestic Violence National Registry;
- Forced to Forfeit their weapons;
- Forbidden from returning to their residence;
- Forbidden from any future contact with the victim;
- Required to undergo mental health treatment;
- Required to undergo batters intervention program;
- Provide temporary financial support to the plaintiff;
- Forbidden from having contact with their children;
- Attorneys fees as well may be issued.
Restraining Orders in New Jersey Never Go Away
If a final restraining order is granted, it is for life. Unlike most other states, FRO’s in New Jersey will never expire. The only way to remove a FRO is to file a formal motion to vacate in the Superior Court and traditionally a substantial time period would need to have lapsed before a Judge would even entertain such a motion.
Final Restraining Order Attorneys in East Windsor
As you can tell from reading above, restraining orders are serious matters that require the assistance of an experienced Mercer County domestic violence defense attorney. If you have been served with a FRO in Hamilton, Hopewell, Lawrence, Princeton, West Windsor, Trenton or elsewhere in Mercer County, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. If would like to speak to one of our attorney about your options then please contact us directly at (609) 789-0779. Please remember that time is of the essence.