How Can I File for a Restraining Order in New Jersey?
Are you a victim of an act of domestic violence? Are you afraid for your safety? If so, you may petition the court to obtain what is known as a Restraining Order. Before a Final Restraining Order (FRO) can be obtained, the victim must first seek what is known as a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). Here is a rundown on how a victim of domestic violence may obtain a final restraining order in New Jersey. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Keith Oliver Criminal Law by contact our Middletown office at 732.858.6959 or you can leave us an email.
How to Obtain a Temporary Restraining Order in Monmouth County
A victim seeking to obtain a temporary restraining order in New Jersey must first file for what is known as a complaint for a restraining order. This complaint is normally filed in the Family Division of the county courthouse in where the parties reside. For example, if the victim resides in Monmouth County but the Defendant resides in Ocean County, the victim should file the complaint for the restraining order in the Family Division of the Monmouth County Superior Court, which is located at 71 Monument Street in Freehold. If the county courthouse is closed at the time of filing the complaint, the complaint can be filed at the local police department. This is not uncommon as most acts of domestic violence tend to occur either during evening hours or on the weekends when the Superior Court is closed.
In the complaint, the victim, also known as the “plaintiff” must provide the current acts of domestic violence that they are a victim of (i.e. assault, terroristic threats, stalking, harassment) at the hands of the Defendant. They must also provide any and all prior acts of domestic violence at the hands of the Defendant. Once the complaint is completed, the plaintiff must go before a Judge so that he/she could determine whether or not they have satisfied their burden. In other words, has the plaintiff established that they are the victim of an act of domestic violence and that they are in fear of immediate danger or further acts of domestic violence.
What Happens After a TRO is Granted in NJ
If the plaintiff satisfies their burden and a TRO is granted, the sheriffs department or local police department will be required to serve the Defendant will the order. It is important to note here that a temporary restraining order is exactly what it states, temporary in nature. Once the Defendant is served with the TRO the parties must appear in the Superior Court for what is known as a Final Restraining Order (FRO). For more information on how to file a Domestic Violence Complaint (TRO) in New Jersey, please click the link.
All Weapons Must Be Forfeited Once a TRO is Granted
If a temporary restraining order is granted the local police department serving the TRO must seize any and all weapons that the defendant possesses. If necessary, the Judge can grant a Search Warrant based on the issuance of the TRO. This will allow the officers to search a specific location for the weapons. Once the weapons are seized they will be held pending the resolution of the TRO. If a final restraining order is granted, the weapons will be forever forfeited. If the TRO is either denied and/or dismissed at the request of the Plaintiff, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office still has the authority to forfeit the weapons. In order to do so, a formal hearing must be conducted. For more information on weapons forfeiture hearings in Freehold, please click the link.
What Happens at Final Restraining Order Hearing in Freehold NJ
During a final restraining order hearing it will be the plaintiff’s burden to show by preponderance of the evidence that they are victim of an act of domestic violence and that in order to protect them from immediate danger or further acts of domestic violence, a permanent restraining order must be entered. An FRO is basically a mini-trial, witness will be called testify and they will be subject to cross examination. Since these are normally he said she said incidents, more often than not at the end of the day the Judge will be required to make a credibility determination based on the testimony. That is one of the many reasons that we strongly recommend that you speak to an experienced Monmouth County Domestic Violence defense attorneys as soon as possible about your options. Final restraining orders are permanent in New Jersey and never expire.
What Happens If a Final Restraining Order is Granted by Judge
Once a final restraining order is entered, the Judge will advise the defendant what their obligations will be under the order. The standard conditions include things like: prohibited from contacting the victim; prohibited from returning to the victim’s residence / place of employment; a fine ranging anywhere from $50 to $500; forfeiture of any weapons; placed into a domestic violence registry. The Judge can also impose other discretionary conditions, include things like: temporary financial support; batters intervention counseling; temporary custody arraignment and mental health counseling. These are just a few of the many conditions that can be impose. For more information on what happens after a final restraining order is imposed in Monmouth County, please click the link.
Looking to Consult with an Attorney about Restraining Order in Freehold
At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, we fully understand the emotions and stress that most feel when they are involved in a domestic violence incident. That is why we are dedicated to being very hands on with our clients. Our office not only defends restraining orders but also helps victims of domestic violence obtain restraining orders as well. If you or a loved one is seeking a restraining order, trying to vacate a restraining order, charged with violating a restraining order or have any questions with regards to how restraining orders work in New Jersey, please contact our Middletown office at 732.858.6959. One of our attorneys is available immediately for a free initial consultation. We serve all of Monmouth County, including towns like Middletown, Holmdel, Freehold, Neptune, Howell, Ocean Township, Wall Township, Matawan, Eatontown, Manalapan and Aberdeen.