Dealing With Restraining Orders in Domestic Violence Cases

When you are accused of domestic violence, one of the most immediate consequences is that the accuser can obtain a restraining order against you. A judge can issue a temporary restraining order ex parte (meaning without both parties present); and, if you have a final restraining order issued against you, this can impact all aspects of your family and professional life.

When a spouse, partner or other family member files for a restraining order against you, this is a civil case. This means that the burden of proof is a mere “preponderance of the evidence.” As a result, all your accuser needs to show is that it is more likely than not that: (i) act of domestic occurred, and (ii) a restraining order is necessary to protect the accuser from further abuse. This is a lesser standard than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that applies in criminal cases, so you can become subject to a restraining order even if there is insufficient evidence to convict you of a crime at trial.

What is “Domestic Violence”?

Under New Jersey law, domestic violence is defined as the commission of one or more of the following offenses against a spouse, former spouse, current or former boyfriend or girlfriend, parent of a shared child, or another member of the perpetrator’s household:

  • Assault
  • Burglary or robbery
  • Criminal restraint
  • Criminal mischief
  • Criminal sexual contact
  • Criminal trespass or coercion
  • False imprisonment
  • Harassment or cyber-harassment
  • Kidnapping
  • Lewdness
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Any other crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury

What are the Penalties for Violating a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

Violating a domestic violence restraining order is considered contempt of court, and violating even a single term of your restraining order can lead to a criminal conviction. For a second violation of a domestic violence restraining order, you are looking at a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days.

When Can Someone File for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in Hackensack?

You can become subject to a domestic violence restraining order in Hackensack under three circumstances. A Bergen County judge can issue a temporary or permanent restraining order against you if: (i) you live in Hackensack, (ii) your accuser lives in Hackensack, or (iii) the alleged domestic violence occurred in Hackensack.

How Can I Avoid a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

In order to avoid a domestic violence restraining order, you need to convince the judge that your accuser has not met his or her burden of proof. Depending upon the circumstances involved in your case, this can be done by:

  • Challenging the accuracy or sufficiency of your accuser’s evidence or allegations
  • Presenting testimony from witnesses who can contradict your accuser’s story
  • Presenting evidence that you were not present when the alleged domestic violence occurred
  • Presenting other evidence that calls into question the legitimacy of the allegations against you
  • Demonstrating that your accuser does not need a restraining order to protect against future acts of domestic violence

Speak With a Hackensack Criminal Defense Lawyer for Free

If you are facing a domestic violence restraining order, Hackensack attorney Scott Gorman can help. Scott is an aggressive criminal defense lawyer who has represented hundreds of clients throughout New Jersey. To schedule a free and confidential consultation at The Gorman Law Firm, please call (201) 489-9199 or contact us online now.

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