Temporary Restraining Order Lawyers in Mercer County
Domestic disputes are going to happen but when they escalate and the law enforcement is forced to get involved, the stakes get much higher. In New Jersey, a victim of an act of domestic violence can seek relief in the form of a Temporary Restraining Order as well as by pressing criminal charges. If you have been accused of an act of domestic violence like simple assault, terroristic threats, criminal mischief, stalking, harassment or sexual assault and have been served with a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) it is imperative that you speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your options.
Need Local Lawyer in Princeton For Restraining Order
TRO’s are exactly what one would think they are, temporary. In order for a TRO to become a final restraining order (FRO) a FRO hearing must take place the family division of the Mercer County Superior Court. These hearings are in essence miniature trials and as such, they require the assistance of an experienced Mercer County domestic violence defense lawyers. If you have been served with a restraining order in Mercer County, in towns like Hamilton, Lawrence, East Windsor, Princeton, West Windsor, Trenton or Robbinsville, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Our Mercer County domestic violence defense lawyers have been representing clients served with a TRO in courts through out the State for almost a decade now. If you would like to come into our office for a face to face meeting with one of our attorneys then please contact us at (609) 789-0779. Time is of the essence when it comes to TRO’s in New Jersey. As you will see below, the courts require the parties to appear in court within ten days. So, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Understanding Temporary Restraining Orders in New Jersey
Who Can Obtain a TRO in New Jersey?
Pursuant to New Jersey’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act, only those who are classified as a “victim of domestic violence” a will be able to obtain the additional protections that a temporary restraining order can provide. So, the first thing that would need to be analyzed is whether the victim qualifies a protected party. NJSA 2C:25-19(d) spells out who will be classified as a “victim” pursuant to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. They are as follows:
- A present or former spouse of the defendant,
- A present or former household member of the defendant; or
- An individual who has a child in common with the defendant; or
- A present or former significant other of the defendant.
If the individual qualifies as a protected party, the second step is see if they were in fact the “victim of a crime of domestic violence” at the hands of the defendant. Only certain crimes will be classified as “acts of domestic violence”. NJSA 2C:25-19(a) spells out those crimes, which are as follows:
- Homicide, Assault, Terroristic Threats, Kidnapping, Criminal Restraint, False Imprisonment, Sexual Assault, Criminal Sexual Contact, Lewdness, Criminal Mischief, Burglary, Criminal Trespass, Harassment or Stalking.
The third and final analysis is to determine whether the victim of the act of domestic violence needs the TRO to:
- Protect their life, health or well-being; or
- That they are in danger of an act of domestic violence.
If the victim satisfies this three prong test, they will be able to benefit from the extra protections that are spelled out in the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. Due to the potential dangers that a victim of domestic violence could face, temporary restraining orders tend to be leniently granted. Now that does mean that the Final Restraining Orders are leniently granted, just the initial temporary order of protection.
Where is a Temporary Restraining Order Litigated in Mercer County?
Since temporary restraining orders are civil in nature in New Jersey, the final restraining order (FRO) hearings will take place in the Chancery Division, Family Part of the Mercer County Courthouse, which is located at 175 South Broad Street, Second Floor. If a Defendant is also charged criminally with an act of domestic violence then they must appear in either the Criminal Division of the Mercer County Courthouse or the local municipal court where the incident happened. The specific offense charged will dictate what criminal court has jurisdiction over the charges. As you can see, these are really two separate matters that are litigated in two separate proceedings despite the fact that they originate from the same set of facts and involve the exact same parties.
What Happens After a Temporary Restraining Order is Issued in NJ
Due to the immediacy involved in a TRO, the parties are required to appear in court within ten (10) days of the order being served. With that being said, one adjournment is traditionally granted with these types of hearing, regardless of whether the plaintiff or the defendant is requesting one. However, the final restraining order hearing usually must take place within thirty (30) days of the issuance of the TRO. Now, although that seems like a long time, in reality it isn’t. These hearings are rather complex and in order to be successful, time is required to adequately investigate the allegations in the TRO and obtain all necessary evidence. If you would like to discuss your options with one of our attorneys then please contact us at (609) 789-0779.
Here is a review from another satisfied client of Keith Oliver Criminal Law:
After a bitter domestic breakup, my ex filed a temporary restraining order to obtain some personal belongings left in my home. Out of concern for the potential impact to my career and reputation, I searched online for the right representation and found Keith Oliver. From the initial conversation, Mr. Oliver listened intently to my concerns and provided me with multiple options. I elected to retain Mr. Oliver as counsel as he put me at ease immediately with his knowledge of the process. Needlessly to say, Keith’s legal knowledge and personal insight into human behavior resulted in a vacated TRO within days. His due diligence, knowledge and concern were integral in helping me during a stressful time. Highly recommend.
For more on this particular case, please see A.F. v. R.P.
What are the Ramifications of a Temporary Restraining Order?
If a TRO is granted, it will prevent a Defendant from seeing their children, possessing any firearms, returning to their home, future acts of domestic violence and speaking to the victim. It could also require the Defendant to provide the victim with temporary financial support during the duration of the TRO. Furthermore, if a Defendant is accused of violating any of these conditions, they will be charged with a violation of a restraining order. A violation of a restraining order charge will still be prosecuted even if the underlying TRO is dismissed outright at a FRO hearing. This would be in addition to any other criminal charges that may have been filed as a result of the underlying act that lead to the issuance of the temporary restraining order.
Speak to a Local Hamilton Temporary Restraining Order Lawyer Today
If you have been served with a TRO or charged criminally with an act of domestic violence in Mercer County, we can help. Our attorneys have been defend clients served with a TRO for years now. These offenses can become very complex and as such require the assistance of an experienced Mercer County Domestic Violence defense lawyer. Our office serves all of Mercer County, including towns like Lawrence, Hightstown, Hopewell, Robbinsville, Hamilton, Ewing and Trenton. If you would like to speak to one of our attorneys about your options then please contact us at (609) 789-0779. As always, our initial consultations are free of charge and we can be reached 24/7 to help assist in anyway possible.