A restraining order is an order issued by the court to protect a victim of domestic violence. Whoever the order is filed against cannot come into contact or communicate with the victim; if the person who has a restraining order against them violates the protective order, they can be charged with a criminal offense. It is important to remember that a restraining order cannot place a person in jail—it can only protect the individual, and in some cases, their minor children, from abusive behavior by another individual.
If you are a victim of domestic violence and wish to protect yourself from your abuse, call The Law Offices of O'Toole & Gunteski, LLC today. Our legal team has more than five decades of combined experience and can help ensure you are protected from your abuser. We can also assist you during your divorce or separation process if you wish to permanently terminate your relationship with said abuser. We understand you may be scared, which is why we go above and beyond to ensure you receive the protective order you need to feel safe once again.
New Jersey has two types of restraining orders—a temporary restraining order and afinal restraining order. Both are designed to protect domestic violence victims, not punish the person being accused. However, when a person files a restraining order against another individual, it may seem like a punishment because it can negatively affect the accused person's future. When a person has a restraining order filed against them, it can be seen on their permanent record. This means all current and future employers can see said protective order. It can also prohibit a person from owning a firearm.
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS
temporary restraining order is issued to provide an abuse victim temporary protection. It does not
require as much evidence needed to file a final restraining order. To
issue a temporary restraining order, a judge must have a sufficient amount
of proof to believe domestic violence has occurred.
After a temporary restraining order is issued, a hearing will be held within ten days by the Superior Court Judge in the Family Division to establish whether or not the temporary restraining order should become final. It is ideal you have legal representation at this time to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.
FINAL RESTRAINING ORDER
At the trial of a formal restraining order, the victim must testify about the incident that caused them to file a temporary restraining order. Witnesses may be present at the hearing to provide further proof of said abuse.
Evidence can also be used during this trial including:
The defendant is then given the opportunity to dispute said claims made by the victim and present their own evidence. Once all testimonies have been heard, the judge must decide whether a final restraining order is necessary.
Proving domestic violence can be challenging, as there are often no witnesses present at the time of the alleged abuse. Many cases result in "he said / she said" allegations—meaning the judge must take all testimonies and evidence into account and honor the most believable party.
When determining if a final restraining order should be granted, the judge must ensure the following factors exist:
Various acts can be considered as domestic abuse such as:
If the judge determines domestic violence did not occur, the restraining order case will be dropped. If there is enough proof that domestic violence occurred, they will issue a final restraining order. The judge can then decide what type of relief must be granted to the victim. Types of relief vary depending on the victims needs but can include protection from future violence, prohibitions against contact and harassment, custody of any minor children and safe conditions of parenting time, support, temporary possession of personal property, and rent or mortgage payments.
When a protective order is violated, the person the order is filed against may be arrested. Violating the terms of a final restraining order is considered a criminal offense which can lead to jail time. Even though the restraining order is issued in a civil court, violations are heard in a criminal court.
Please call The Law Offices of O'Toole & Gunteski, LLC if you wish to receive a free case evaluation. We can discuss how our team can help you during the evaluation so you are aware of how we can be of assistance prior to you hiring our firm. We look forward to helping you through this traumatic time and starting a fresh, safe life.