FAQs: Restraining Order in NJ Part III

How can I Defend Myself Against a Restraining Order in NJ?

Unfortunately, when relationships end, one party might be particularly vindictive and blow things out of proportion in an attempt to punish the other party. New Jersey has broad laws on filing protective orders, and for good reason. However, if you feel you have been wrongly depicted, you will have the opportunity to present your defense at the permanent restraining order hearing. If the other party has a history of filing false claims or spreading other falsehoods, this will be good evidence in a defense. Additionally, asserting self-defense against the other party will be a complete defense to their claims. Hiring a lawyer to represent you against a domestic violence claim is the best thing you can do if are facing a permanent restraining order.

What Happens if I am Arrested on Domestic Violence Charges in New Jersey– can I Get Out of Jail?

In 2017, New Jersey passed a bail reform act which applies even to those individuals arrested under the ‘mandatory arrest’ section of the law, which requires an arrest if a victim shows injuries derived from domestic violence. Once arrested, you will likely face a hearing to determine whether you should be detained pending your trial. The law requires courts to approach detention based on risk. The court has to determine if you are likely to flee, commit additional violence or crimes, obstruct justice or intimidate witnesses.

What Kinds of Things Would be Considered a Violation of a Restraining Order in NJ?

There are obvious kinds of violations, such as repeated phone calls, calling at all hours of the night, and physically assaulting the victim again. But the law is not always so black and white. In one case, New Jersey v DGM, the court had to decide whether the person sitting near the victim and filming them would be considered a violation of a restraining order in NJ. The two parties shared a mutual child, and they attended the child’s soccer match (which was allowed under the order). The parties were sitting fairly close to each other, and the father was filming the match. At one point, he included his ex-wife in the video – which the court determined was a violation of the restraining order. Pointing a camera was considered a ‘form of communication’ between the parties. However, notably, the court also found this particular party should not be found guilty because he did not knowingly violate the restraining order, as this was a case of first impression. This defense will not work on any other defendant in the future.

What Happens if I am the Subject of a Permanent Restraining Order in NJ?

In addition to the no-contact order between yourself and the victim, becoming subject to this order could affect your rights to custody, owning firearms, and even other collateral consequences. For example, if you are a professional, like a registered nurse, having a permanent restraining order on your record could negatively affect your professional license. You will have to submit your fingerprints to the state, and you will have a record of domestic violence on your record. Because of the high stakes for this sort of charge, you should strongly consider hiring a family law attorney to defend your interests if you are facing a restraining order in NJ.

Can I Drop or Terminate a Restraining Order in NJ?

Yes, but please keep in mind that restraining orders are taken very seriously by the courts and law enforcement agencies in New Jersey. Restraining orders in NJ can be terminated if the parties reconcile, or if the party who is seeking the order wants it withdrawn. However, you must follow the appropriate procedures for terminating or withdrawing the order, otherwise, the party who is subject to it could be found in violation, which is a criminal offense.

How do I Drop or Terminate a Restraining Order in NJ?

You need to request it from the court and demonstrate that the decision is being made voluntarily. The court is wary about dropping these cases due to the possibility of the defendant pressuring or coercing the victim to drop their complaints.

What Kind of Factors Does the Court Consider in Terminating a Restraining Order in NJ?

Under Carfagno, if the court finds that the victim has consented to lift the order voluntarily, that is all that is required for the order to be lifted. Otherwise, the court must consider whether a reasonable person in the same situation as the victim would fear the defendant, and what the current relationship is between the parties. So, for example, if it seems that the defendant exerts control over the victim in some way, this may make the court more reluctant to withdraw the matter. Any violations or contempt convictions of the defendant will be looked at, as well as any other violent acts or issues with drugs and alcohol. One positive factor in favor of the defendant will be a completion of anger management and domestic violence counseling. The age and health of the defendant must be considered, as well as the good faith of the victim (including whether they do not agree to terminate the order). And of course, any other factor that the court deems relevant is considered.

Also, see Restraining Order in NJ: Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1 and Restraining Order in NJ: Frequently Asked Questions – Part 2. Getting or defending against a restraining order in NJ can be complex and overwhelming. If you have questions or concerns about this process, get in touch with the law offices of Peter Van Aulen today for a free initial consultation at (201) 845 – 7400.

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