A restraining order can put serious limitations on your family life. Depending on your particular circumstances, a domestic violence restraining order could leave you searching for a new place to live or without direct access to your children while you await a judge’s decision. In New Jersey, there are two types of restraining orders—temporary and final.
While each order is designed to keep distance between the alleged victim and the alleged abuser, you need to know the limitations and legal requirements of each, Passaic County domestic violence attorneys say, because any violation, even one you were unaware of at the time, can hurt your case and can result in serious repercussions.
Temporary Restraining Order
A temporary restraining order (TRO) can be filed by going to the local county courthouse or police department and reporting that certain acts of domestic violence have been committed. The person who reports the acts can ask for protection under the 1990 Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19), which protection can be granted in the form of a TRO.
If a judge determines that the alleged victim is in continued danger from the accused attacker, he or she will issue the order, usually with no prior warning to the other party. When your partner or ex is granted a TRO, police may show up to remove you from the house and they may arrest you. Any firearms in your possession will be taken and will not be returned until you complete a second, separate proceeding, and, in some instances, additional court appearances may be necessary to avoid permanent forfeiture of your firearms.
Final Restraining Order
A final restraining order (FRO) is the second step following the TRO. Once the TRO is issued, a hearing on the alleged victim’s application for a FRO must take place within ten days of the domestic violence accusation. A FRO has serious, far-reaching effects on not only the current situation, but the rest of an accused attacker’s life.
If a final restraining order has been entered against you, you will be subject to fingerprinting. The Administrative Office of the Courts will keep your name in a central registry that tracks all people who have had domestic violence restraining orders issued against them. If you violate any restraining order at any time, you can be found in contempt of court, and if you commit a second or subsequent violation, you can be sentenced to a minimum of 30 days in jail.
Along with these restrictions, a final restraining order blocks you from possessing a firearm or a purchaser’s identification card. You will not be able to apply for a card in the future either. If you lived in the same home with your alleged victim, you will most likely be unable to return and your ability to see your children will likely be impacted. Custody agreements can take a long time to be worked out, and until that time, you may find yourself completely cut off or severely restricted as to how you can visit your own children.
A temporary restraining order may be more of a nuisance, but it can quickly turn into a final restraining order, which can effectively turn your life upside down. If your partner has issued either order against you, contact a domestic violence attorney right away. Scott Gorman at The Gorman Law Firm will work with you to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.
Published in Categories: Domestic Violence