A temporary restraining order (TRO) in New Jersey will be issued before a final restraining order (FRO) can be issued. They should not be taken lightly under any circumstances and if you are facing one, you should exercise extreme caution and consider retaining an experienced Monmouth County Criminal Defense Attorney. Domestic violence is a problem in this country that is being more and more illuminated each day. Today, people are more openly speaking out about this delicate issue, and because of this, the legislature has taken a very harsh position when it comes to temporary restraining orders. In certain circumstances, they can be ordered ex parte, which means that only one person needs to be present for the order to go into effect. Restraining orders are governed by the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your temporary restraining order in Monmouth County, call Villani & DeLuca today for a FREE consultation.
What can a Temporary Restraining Order do?
A temporary restraining order in Monmouth County can be life altering. The goal of the temporary restraining order is to prevent domestic violence and it can do that in a variety of ways. For instance, a temporary restraining order can prevent the defendant from:
- Speaking with the plaintiff
- Calling the plaintiff
- Electronically or otherwise communicating with plaintiff
- Visiting plaintiff’s (and possibly defendant’s) child freely
- Visiting persons of interest to plaintiff (friends, family, lovers, etc.)
- Going home (if residence is shared)
- Appearing in places the defendant frequents (for risk of plaintiff being there)
- Other related matters
When is a Temporary Restraining Order issued in Monmouth County?
Because the order is only temporary, TRO’s are often issued with little evidence. The judge only needs to be convinced by a preponderance of the evidence, which means that the plaintiff’s story is more likely to be true than false. This is a sharp departure from the normal standard of proof required because although the defendant is not actually charged with the criminal offenses complained of, criminal offenses must typically be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. But, because the order is temporary and designed to prevent heinous crimes of domestic violence from occurring, the standard of proof is much lower. When weighing the options, a judge in Monmouth County will typically act with extreme caution. It is much easier to live with an innocent, angry spouse than it is an injured, abused, or dead one. To see more information on the formal process of obtaining a temporary restraining order, see (link to main domestic violence page).
What happens if the Temporary Restraining Order is violated?
Violating a temporary restraining order in Monmouth County, New Jersey is a serious matter that may lead to harsh, criminal consequences. A defendant will not receive a small slap on the wrist if they violate a temporary restraining order. Because the order is a judicial order from a judge, the consequences can be far greater. If a temporary restraining order is violated in Monmouth County, the defendant can be charged with criminal contempt, as per N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9, which reads in pertinent part:
- Except as provided below, a person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if that person purposely or knowingly violates any provision in an order entered under the provisions of the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et al.) or an order entered under the provisions of a substantially similar statute under the laws of another state or the United States when the conduct which constitutes the violation could also constitute a crime or a disorderly persons offense.
What are the penalties for violating a Temporary Restraining Order in Monmouth County?
The penalties for violating a temporary restraining order can be a hefty fine and potential jail time. Criminal contempt can be charged as a 4th degree crime in New Jersey, which means it can be punished with a fine up to $10,000 and 18 months in prison. The penalties for violating a temporary restraining order are particularly severe because they are designed to stop domestic violence. Unfortunately, some violate the temporary restraining order in a manner that would satisfy the criminal contempt statute but with no bad intentions. For instance, consider a spouse who knows their actions were wrong and understands a full restraining order will be issued soon, but simply forgets a prized possession in the shared residence’s backyard. The violator waits until everyone is out of the house to retrieve the item and plans explicitly on not seeing any of the prohibited parties. When retrieving the item, a friendly neighbor sees and calls the police. Now this spouse is in real trouble. If you find yourself in a similar situation, call Villani & DeLuca. Our attorneys have over 100 years combined experiences and have likely dealt with a similar situation in Monmouth County.
How does one violate a Temporary Restraining Order?
Simply put, you cannot do anything that the temporary restraining order tells you that you cannot do. The list of possibly prohibited activities is shown above, but that is not an exhaustive list. The judge may order virtually anything of that nature in the interest of promoting both physical and emotional safety and preventing any type of domestic violence crime. But, the violator must violate the temporary restraining order “knowingly or purposely.” This means the violation cannot be a complete and honest mistake. For instance, if defendant is at a mall in an area foreign to both plaintiff and defendant, and they see each other, it is not likely to be a violation. But, if the defendant does not do everything in his power to avoid the plaintiff in the common area, he may be in violation of the restraining order. Because the laws and enforcement of the order are complex, it is best to retain an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Monmouth County, if facing a violation charge. Call Villani & DeLuca today and let us fight on your behalf.
What to do if facing a Restraining Order?
As you can see, restraining orders are not something to take lightly. They are restrictive, binding, and pack a powerful penalty. If you are facing a final restraining order, and you reside in Monmouth County, retain legal counsel immediately. At Villani & DeLuca, our attorneys have over 100 years combined experience. They are familiar with the local legal community and have handled many cases dealing with restraining orders in both Monmouth County and Ocean County, New Jersey. Whether you are challenging a violation of the restraining order or the issuance of the restraining order itself, call Villani & DeLuca for a free consultation today.