What to do if a Restraining Order is Entered Against You in New Jersey

What to do if a Restraining Order is Entered Against You in New Jersey

Having a restraining order entered against you is serious and can have a very negative impact on your life if not properly dealt with. To have a restraining order against you often involves more than you and the individual who made the request; it could lead to a criminal offense if violated. If you find yourself served a restraining order, you need to know what to do and who to contact to help you raise a defense so that the order can be vacated.

Key Takeaways

  • Temporary restraining orders (TROs) are interim measures granted in cases of domestic violence or criminal actions, while final restraining orders (FROs) are permanent injunctions issued after a hearing.
  • If served with a TRO, comply immediately with its provisions to avoid arrest and further legal consequences.
  • Seek legal representation promptly upon being served with a TRO to prepare for the scheduled hearing within 10 days. Compliance with the TRO is necessary until the FRO hearing, even if you believe it to be unjust.
  • Violating a restraining order, even minor infractions, can lead to immediate arrest, criminal charges, mandatory jail time for repeat offenses, and long-term repercussions on employment, housing, and immigration status.

About Temporary Restraining Orders in New Jersey

Temporary restraining orders (TROs) serve as interim measures to protect individuals from immediate harm. In New Jersey, TROs are typically granted in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, or other criminal actions against an individual. They come into effect immediately upon issuance and last until the final restraining order (FRO) hearing, which is usually scheduled within ten days. TROs may impose various restrictions on the defendant, including prohibiting contact with the plaintiff and relinquishing firearms.

About Final Restraining Orders in New Jersey

Final restraining orders (FROs) are permanent injunctions issued by a judge following a hearing. FROs replace TROs if the court finds sufficient evidence to justify their issuance. Once entered, FROs have long-term implications, including restrictions on contact, firearm possession, and potential impacts on child custody and support arrangements.

What Happens When a TRO is Placed Against You?

When served with a TRO in New Jersey, it's essential to comply with its provisions immediately. Failure to do so may result in arrest and further legal consequences. If you reside with the plaintiff, vacate the premises willingly to avoid complications. Law enforcement may conduct searches for weapons, and any firearms in your possession will be seized. Adhering to temporary arrangements for child custody, support, and other matters is also crucial.

What to do When a TRO is Entered Against You in NJ

Being served a TRO requires swift action and compliance with whatever you are asked to do. Keep in mind that, because the TRO is against you, any law enforcement will be focused on keeping the individual who made the complaint safe. This includes children. Again, do not resist what you are asked to do. Even if you believe the TRO is unjust or unwarranted, compliance is necessary until the FRO hearing.

Once you have found lodgings, call a lawyer as soon as you can. As mentioned earlier, a court hearing is typically scheduled within 10 days the TRO is entered against you, though this may be longer, depending on the number of other urgent cases.

Consequences of Violating a Restraining Order

Violating a restraining order, whether it's temporary or final, can have far-reaching and severe consequences in New Jersey. Even seemingly minor infractions, such as sending a text message or being in proximity to the plaintiff, can lead to serious legal repercussions. Any violation of a restraining order, no matter how small, can result in immediate arrest by law enforcement officers. Once arrested, you may face criminal charges for contempt of court or violating a court order, which can carry significant penalties.

In New Jersey, having repeat offenses could lead to mandatory jail time. For example, a second violation can lead to a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail, with subsequent violations carrying even harsher penalties.

Violating a restraining order will also go on your criminal record. This means that, when searching for a new job or apartment, potential employers and landlords will see this infraction. For immigrants, a restraining order violation can result in deportation proceedings or negatively impact immigration status, jeopardizing residency or citizenship.

Can You Appeal a TRO?

Yes, individuals served with a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in New Jersey have the right to appeal the order with the assistance of legal counsel. To initiate the appeal process, your attorney will file a motion with the appropriate court seeking to appeal the TRO. This motion outlines the grounds for appeal and requests a review of the order by a higher court. It's crucial to act swiftly, as there are typically strict deadlines for filing appeals following the issuance of a TRO.

Appealing a TRO involves presenting legal arguments and evidence to demonstrate that the order was improperly issued or that there are substantial legal errors that warrant overturning the decision. Common grounds for appeal may include:

  • Lack of Sufficient Evidence: Arguing that there was insufficient evidence presented to justify the issuance of the TRO.
  • Procedural Errors: Alleging that procedural errors occurred during the TRO hearing, such as violations of due process rights or failure to adhere to legal requirements.
  • Abuse of Discretion: Claiming that the judge abused their discretion in issuing the TRO, such as relying on irrelevant factors or disregarding relevant evidence.
  • Constitutional Violations: Asserting that the TRO infringes upon constitutionally protected rights, such as freedom of speech or due process.

While success is not guaranteed, appealing a TRO provides an opportunity to contest its issuance and potentially mitigate its effects. If the appellate court determines that errors were made in issuing the TRO or that legal standards were not met, it may overturn the order, resulting in its modification or dissolution.

Speak to an Attorney Today About Restraining Order Appeals

If you believe that a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued against you in New Jersey was unjust or improper, don't hesitate to explore your options for appeal with the assistance of legal counsel. The experienced attorneys at Ziegler Law Group, LLC, are here to provide you with guidance. We understand the complexities of restraining order cases and will provide personalized, effective representation tailored to your specific needs. Your future and well-being are our top priorities, and we're here to help you navigate this challenging time with confidence and clarity.

Schedule your free consultation today by calling 973-533-1100 or by filling out the online form.

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