New Jersey Restraining Order Defense Lawyers
Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyers Represent Clients Facing Restraining Orders in Essex County, Union County, Morris County, Middlesex County, Bergen County and Somerset County, NJ
A restraining order is essentially a specific order that prevents you from doing certain things—in addition to preventing contact, it may also prevent you from visiting certain specific locations. While a temporary restraining order is relatively easy to get in North Jersey because it is based upon the singular testimony of the person requesting the order, a more detailed hearing requiring evidentiary support is held to determine whether the restraining order should be made final—giving our skilled defense lawyers ample opportunity to challenge the basis for issuing the order.
Although the restraining order itself will not appear on your criminal record, if you violate that restraining order, even inadvertently, the resulting criminal offense will appear on background checks for jobs, housing, bank loans and even educational opportunities. This makes it vital to retain an experienced defense lawyer as soon as you have been issued a temporary restraining order so that we can fight to avoid imposition of a final order. Our lawyers have years’ worth of experience defending clients facing restraining orders in Northern New Jersey, and we are here to build the strongest possible defense in your case. If you have questions about restraining orders in New Jersey, call or contact our office today.
Understanding Potential Consequences When a Restraining Order is Imposed in North Jersey
Imposition of a restraining order can be done without your knowledge (especially if it is a temporary restraining order) and can have far-reaching consequences beyond the simple “no contact” order that prevents you from attempting to contact the alleged victim of domestic violence. Restraining orders can:
- Require you to leave your home or apartment,
- Cause you to lose contact with your children, even via phone or other technology,
- Require that you surrender any firearms or other weapons,
- Restrict your ability to attend family gatherings, church or events in the community where the alleged victim is present.
Even though you will be forced to leave your home, you will still be required to continue paying your mortgage, rent, child support and any other relevant expenses that the judge deems necessary.
Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers Craft Strong Defense to Fight Issuance of Final Restraining Orders
At Zegas Law, our experienced criminal defense lawyers have several opportunities to challenge the petition to make a temporary restraining order final. In order to finalize the order, the plaintiff must establish three key elements:
- A predicate act of domestic violence. To establish this element, the alleged victim must present evidence that abuse or harassment took place on at least one prior occasion, whether by providing phone records, emails, photos, medical reports, eyewitness testimony.
- A prior history of domestic violence. In addition to showing at least one predicate act, the alleged victim must establish a history, whether by providing arrest reports, evidence of 911 calls, witness testimony or otherwise.
- A fear for future safety. Finally, the alleged victim must establish that he or she has a reasonable basis for fearing for their future safety. This element requires a subjective analysis based upon all available evidence and the defendant’s past behavior.
Our criminal defense team has the knowledge and resources necessary to mount a successful defense by challenging the evidence supporting any one or more of these elements. In many cases, eyewitness testimony will play a key role, and we can challenge the credibility of these witnesses in any number of ways—and even present our own witnesses to strengthen your case.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation to Discuss Questions About Restraining Orders
Many clients overlook the fact that violation of a restraining order is a fourth-degree criminal offense in New Jersey, punishable by jail time and significant monetary fines. Because of the significant restrictions that can be included within a final restraining order, violations may occur even inadvertently. It is therefore critical to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer early in the process in order to advocate against imposition of the final restraining order in the first place. If you have been served with a temporary restraining order or have questions about a final restraining order, call or contact our experienced North Jersey restraining order defense lawyers today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Restraining Orders
FAQ: What is the process that leads to a temporary restraining order being made final in New Jersey?
A temporary restraining order can be issued if the alleged victim tells the judge that he or she feels threatened or that you have injured them—because of their short duration, the temporary restraining order can be issued even if you are not given the opportunity to testify or even notified that the alleged victim is seeking the order. For the temporary order to become final, the judge will schedule a hearing within ten days of the date the temporary order was issued, at which you will have a chance to introduce evidence disputing the order. Generally, at least one postponement will be available to allow us to gather evidence and build your case. While an attorney is optional, one is highly recommended. The requesting party must then show by a preponderance of the evidence—a “more likely than not” standard—that the order is justified.
FAQ: Why am I not entitled to a lawyer to fight imposition of a final restraining order?
Technically, cases involving restraining orders are civil cases, meaning that you don’t have the legal right to a court-appointed attorney. However, it remains advisable to seek out legal representation so that your rights are protected.
FAQ: Why should I hire a criminal defense lawyer if the restraining order is handled via the civil system?
A criminal defense lawyer is a much more valuable asset when facing a restraining order because of the evidentiary considerations in these cases. Our lawyers understand how to challenge these types of evidence and also have a more detailed understanding of the consequences you will face if the order is finalized. Further, it can be valuable simply to have the same attorney handle all related aspects of your case—from the underlying domestic violence charges to the restraining order phase. We will be more familiar with your case, circumstances and the types of arguments necessary to fight finalization of the restraining order.