The State of New Jersey passed the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act to protect victims of domestic violence. This means that a domestic violence victim can obtain a restraining order, limiting the contact the offender can have with the victim. With the help of a New Jersey domestic violence lawyer, we can speak with you about limits of who can obtain a restraining order.
There are 19 acts inflicted upon a person that is protected by the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act:
(4) Kidnapping N.J.S.2C:13-1
(5) Criminal restraint N.J.S.2C:13-2
(6) False imprisonment N.J.S.2C:13-3
(8) Criminal sexual contact N.J.S.2C:14-3
(9) Lewdness N.J.S.2C:14-4
(10) Criminal mischief N.J.S.2C:17-3
(12) Criminal trespass N.J.S.2C:18-3
(15) Criminal coercion N.J.S.2C:13-5
(17) Contempt of a domestic violence order pursuant to subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 that constitutes a crime or disorderly persons offense
(19) Cyber-harassment P.L.2013, c. 272 (C.2C:33-4.1)
Restraining Orders in New Jersey
During business hours (8:30- 4:30 M-F) go to the local family courthouse in the county the incident took place. After hours, or on holidays, go to the local police station where the incident took place to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order or “TRO.”
A TRO provides emergency protection for the victim from the alleged abuser. If a TRO is granted by the Judge, paperwork will be filled out indicating the facts of the alleged incident. The accused must be served. The accused must follow the order and if s/he violates the order, s/he can be arrested. If the allegations involve weapons, the police are authorized to conduct a search of the accused’s home and to seize weapons.
Within 10 days after a TRO is granted a hearing will be held in front of a Superior Court Judge in the same county the TRO was granted. The victim must show up at the hearing, otherwise, the case may be dismissed. The Judge will decide if the TRO should be permanent, called a Final Restraining order or “FRO.” You should also have an attorney by your side at a FRO hearing because the evidence will be presented by both parties to the judge to prove domestic violence occurred.
The court will hear the plaintiff’s testimony and look at exhibits at the FRO hearing. The court will look to the credibility of the plaintiff. The defendant may also choose to present evidence, and the judge will look at his or her credibility.
The standard of proof required by the plaintiff/victim to obtain a FRO is a “preponderance of the evidence.” This is a lower standard compared to a criminal case.
Silver v. Silver is a 2006 New Jersey Appellate decision that
clarified what is necessary in order to obtain a FRO. The plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that:
- The defendant committed one or more of the predicate acts of domestic violence identified in the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act; and
- A FRO is necessary to protect the victim from future acts or threats of violence.
In 2016, the Court in A.M.C. v. P.B. addressed the issue for a need for protection for the victim when there is physical violence. The Appellate Court found that when the first prong of the Silver test, is satisfied, the question of whether the issue a final restraining order when there is a physical force and violence the issuance of a FRO “is most often perfunctory and self-evident.”
If the Judge grants the FRO the order may require the victim and accuser restrict from contacting each other, change parenting rights, modify household financial matters, counseling, and forfeiture of weapons.
Whether you are a plaintiff who needs a FRO or you have been accused of domestic violence, you should have a trusted and knowledgeable attorney by your side. Call Roy Breslow and Casey Breslow today for a free consultation 973-239-8000.
Silver v. Silver, 387 N.J. Super. 112 (App. Div. 2006)
A.M.C. v. P.B., 148 N.J. Super 754 (App. Div. 2016)