New Jersey Restraining Order Defense Lawyer
Seasoned Defense Lawyer Helps Clients Fight Restraining Orders in Middlesex County, Mercer County, Union County, Ocean County and Burlington County, NJ
Restraining orders are most commonly issued in situations involving domestic violence. If the court believes you have committed a “predicate act”, they have authority to issue a temporary restraining order with very little evidence against you. Under the New Jersey Domestic Violence Act (NJSA 2C:25), you can become subject to a restraining order if you are accused of any number of crimes, including:
- Terroristic threats
- False imprisonment
At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, I help clients fight restraining orders and defend against any underlying criminal accusations. With over a decade of experience fighting to protect clients’ rights across New Jersey, I am well-versed in the laws governing restraining orders.
Restraining orders can be issued temporarily under a special process. Within 10 days, you are entitled to a hearing to determine whether the order should be finalized. Experienced legal representation is critical to protecting your rights during this timeframe. I am familiar with the local courts and laws, and also have the practical experience needed to effectively defend you in any underlying criminal matter.
To learn more about my firm and experience, call for a free case review today.
Serious Consequences of a Final Restraining Order
Technically, restraining orders are issued through a civil process, not the criminal justice system. However, because the primary rationale behind issuing a restraining order is a risk of violence, the processes are closely related. The restraining order itself has instructions about what you can and cannot do—it will not carry jail time. Violating a temporary or final restraining order, on the other hand, is a criminal offense under NJSA 2C:29-9.
Even when handled through the civil process, allowing a temporary restraining order to be finalized has significant consequences for the person subject to the order. Those consequences can include:
- Restrictions on your freedom of movement (the order may specifically prevent you from visiting certain places, including the alleged victim’s home or church, or your child’s school)
- Removal from your home, if you live with the alleged victim
- Child custody or visitation restrictions
- Upon issuing the order, you will be fingerprinted and placed in a database that registers people who have been subject to domestic violence orders
- You lose your right to own firearms, including those you already own legally
- Continuing financial support obligations
Restraining orders can even prevent you from seeing an animal you own jointly with the alleged victim, or visiting mutual friends. Many people assume that a temporary restraining order is a minor issue. Allowing that order to become finalized can have much more serious consequences than you initially anticipate. I will work quickly to build the strongest case possible to minimize those consequences.
Fighting to Have a Restraining Order Lifted
Because restraining orders are usually issued quickly, the alleged victim needs very little evidence to obtain a TRO. The hearing to determine whether a final order should be issued also happens quickly after the court issues the temporary order.
However, once the restraining order is made final, it will generally apply indefinitely—meaning forever. If you are subject to a final restraining order, you must take proactive action to get it removed. Options for fighting a final restraining order include:
- Appealing the final order within 45 days of its issuance, or
- Filing a motion to vacate the final order on the grounds that it is no longer necessary can be difficult. To be granted this usually requires the victim’s voluntary decision to have the order dismissed
We can appeal imposition of a final restraining order if the judge made some sort of mistake. That mistake could include:
- A mistake about the facts
- Mistakes in applying the law
- A failure to properly consider objections made during the hearing
- A failure to include complete information about why the judge issued the final restraining order, such as a lack of details regarding the initial act of violence alleged
When challenging a judge’s decision, it is always important to have an experienced defense lawyer by your side. At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, I can help you explore your options for having a restraining order lifted. I work closely with you to learn what happened and walk you through what to expect going forward. If you are faced with a restraining order, call today to schedule your free case review.
Call a Top-Rated Woodbridge, NJ Defense Lawyer to Fight a Restraining Order Today
People are often taken by surprise when they learn about a restraining order. The alleged victim can petition the court for a temporary restraining order without providing you with any notice. At that point, you have only a few short days to build a strong case to prevent the order from becoming final. Getting help from an experienced New Jersey defense lawyer is critical during this window of time.
If you are subject to a temporary or final restraining order, call or contact my office to discuss your options as soon as possible. It is much easier to fight the restraining order while it remains temporary, although you do have options even if the court has issued a final restraining order. I offer a free initial consultation so that you can tell me what happened and learn more about your rights.
Frequently Asked Questions About Restraining Order Defense in New Jersey
Violation of a restraining order is treated as contempt of court, a fourth-degree crime under NJSA 2C:29-9 if the initial restraining order was related to domestic violence. Conviction can result in up to 18 months in prison in itself. If you were out on bail for the underlying domestic violence charge, you will also likely have violated the terms of your bail.
As noted, restraining orders are issued in civil court. That means the standard of proof is lower than in criminal cases. The alleged victim must satisfy a “preponderance of the evidence” standard to get a restraining order. In basic terms, this is a showing that it is “more likely than not” true that you pose a safety risk.